Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Facebook - The new frontier for divorce

I found an article out of England (see below) that seems to confirm some of my thoughts on what recently may be a trend driving divorces. Facebook pages. I've got one, you might have one, your spouse might have one and we all need to be aware that it exists.

If you live in a hermetically sealed bubble though you might not have seen it but Facebook is an all-pervasive online social network that allows you to connect with friends, family, co-workers and business associates. On it, you post information about yourself, your activities, photos, videos and just about anything else you care to share with your network of contacts. It also has strong search capabilities so you can track down an old classmate, friends, and yes, an old girlfriend or boyfriend. And that is where it has come up in some recent divorce cases. Reconnecting with people your spouse would rather have you not reconnect.

However, it is not just Facebook. It's MySpace if you're under 30 or instant messaging if you text. It's your email, cell phone records and even GPS has entered into the mainstream of ways and means of keeping tabs on someone. And your spouse may be watching your every move. Facebook is just the newest biggest thing and there will someday be a replacement. They are the increasingly present tools that technology has given us to not only succeed but also fail.

What to do? Well there isn’t much unless sticking your head in the sand is an option for you. But being careful is really the only option to keeping your private life private. Also Facebook recently underwent big changes to make privacy settings more comprehensive and useful. Of course there is also one other method…don’t cheat!

As a divorce issue, it is not always that important that an affair is talking place. Illinois is a no-fault state in which your spouse’s infidelity is really not that important in most instances. But there is often a related problem. Affairs drive emotion. And where one spouse is emotionally driven to revenge because the other spouse cheated on them, then the costs are not so much the court awarding more to the non-cheating spouse – it’s the fact of an affair can drive one of the spouses to drag out the divorce and be unreasonable on issues that the parties should agree but cant because of the emotional baggage of infidelity.