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Social networking and divorce

As more residents of Arizona become savvy to social networking sites on the Internet, the circulation of information may lead to some difficult and unexpected revelations. According to a recent report, an increasing number of couples have divorced due to discoveries of spousal infidelity or general deception.

Termed a ‘Facebook divorce,” the idea spans multiple websites, such as Twitter, Myspace and Instagram. Information publicly available on such platforms has also caught the attention of divorce lawyers during the filing process. A 2010 study suggested that two-thirds of lawyers in the U.S. utilized Facebook as a source of evidence to support their client.

Evidence retrieved from such sources could include incriminating photos, messaging transcripts or status posts. If, for example, a photo of a spouse in a compromising position with another individual is discovered, this may be sufficient grounds to assert infidelity. A spouse who has made claims of attending a business retreat may be caught in a lie if a status post online suggests otherwise. Although images and text can be deleted from social media sites, information can still be retrieved and used as evidence in divorce court. Attorneys typically enlist forensic experts gather this information.

There are currently no specific laws regarding the use of information discovered on sites like Facebook during the divorce process. For an individual who is contemplating divorce and believes that their spouse has been somehow unfaithful or dishonest, enlisting the aid of a family law attorney may yield beneficial results. Presenting any telling evidence during disputes in court could result in a fairer settlement for their client.

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