View Full Version : Facebook plus divorce equals flammable situation

03-01-2010, 05:31 PM
Facebook plus divorce equals flammable situation

Comments left on Facebook profile pages are turning up in divorce proceedings.
By RICHARD MULLINS | The Tampa Tribune

Published: February 18, 2010

TAMPA - If eHarmony is the Web site bringing lovebirds to the threshold of marriage, Facebook is the one showing up for the divorce.

The world's most popular social media site is revolutionizing the divorce experience, pouring toxin into virtually every stage of a collapsing marriage.

Rekindling old flames into blazing affairs. Exposing the "Exhibit A" that divorce lawyers wave in the courtroom. Providing a global stage for feuding spouses to torch each other's reputations in multi-media splendor.

Take, for instance, the Tampa wife who videotaped fights with her husband (camera in one hand, accusing finger in the other), to post on Facebook later. A child psychologist called it "like a reality TV show."

Or the Tampa husband with a Facebook fixation, who posted minute-by-minute updates about his frustrations with parenting. Lawyers for his wife gleefully turned the online confessions against him in court.

Facebook is "like gasoline on the fire," said Chris Ragano, a Tampa attorney who says Facebook turns up in more than half of new cases each month. Now, he orders every new client to cancel their Facebook account on Day 1 of his retainer but not before using the account to collect evidence against the other side.

"One side posts something nasty, and the other can't help but retaliate, and we're off to the races," Ragano said. "It's World War III."

This post vs. post culture will likely grow more common, as generations who grew up living and loving Facebook enter a cycle of marriage and divorce.

And at the first stages of a marriage going wrong, Facebook seems to be there.

Tampa family lawyer Alex Caballero says spouses on the verge of a breakup used to mingle only with their current social circle. But Facebook's aggressive push to network further broadens the user's options.

An old alumni group from college sends a "Friend request" to join their group, which prompts people to scan current photos of old flames, which leads to wayward thoughts.

"If people are already on the brink," Caballero said, "they see those things and think 'Well, maybe I do want a divorce.'"

More than 80 percent of lawyers surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers said Facebook is showing up in more divorce cases. Sixty-six percent called Facebook the unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence, followed by MySpace (15 percent) and Twitter (5 percent).

Once one side files divorce papers, the Facebook race kicks into high gear.

In the past, lawyers would laboriously gather a stockpile of unflattering evidence to use against the opposing side, through private detectives, credit card statements or phone records.

"Now, Facebook makes it so easy," Ragano said. There's almost too much evidence to sort through. The challenge is hitting "print" quickly enough on a rival's Facebook page.

Reason #146 why I'm okay with not being part of the herd.

TBO (http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/feb/18/facebook-plus-divorce-equals-flammable-situation/news-metro/)

ralph wiggum
03-02-2010, 12:26 PM
Meh, just another case of if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.

I'm constantly amazed at the personal crap that people post there. I pretty much stick to pithy comments.

03-02-2010, 12:29 PM
The problem is that most of these people don't think they're doing anything that will come back to haunt them.

ralph wiggum
03-02-2010, 12:36 PM
The problem is that most of these people don't think they're doing anything that will come back to haunt them.

Must be the really smart people. :rolleyes:

I've been on there for just over a year. Other than a few private messages, I don't know if I've posted anything that was really relevant to real-life.

(And Lurky & asdf, the vodka lemonade thread doesn't count!) :D

03-02-2010, 01:00 PM
One more reason to leave those sites alone...:cool:

03-02-2010, 01:38 PM
I enjoy using face book and I only post stuff that I'd stand behind if necessary and accept the consequences of it it caused issues. As ralph pointed out, don't post any thing that you might regret later.