This may sounds obvious to most (though perhaps not to some knucklehead celebrities such as Ashley Cole) but when you’re going through a divorce, don’t go and post photos of your new woman on Facebook when you still have your estranged wife or her friends linked to your profile.
Now, Ashley Cole hasn’t done this himself (though that could have been merely due to the social networking ban the England team faced while they were in South Africa, so stay tuned) but it is incredibly common according to US divorce lawyers; so common in fact that divorce lawyers in the US regularly use Facebook as a means of gathering evidence – and it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
According to figures from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a monumental (and frightening) 81% of people involved in divorce cases in the US have either used evidence gathered from social networking websites, or faced it! The sites in question include Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and even business website LinkedIn and video sharing site YouTube – the mind boggles as to what people must be uploading to YouTube.
Facebook is the biggest source of evidence online for divorce lawyers, with 66% of all Internet evidence coming from the website. 15% of evidence from online sources comes from MySpace, and just 5% from Twitter.
Linda Lea Viken is the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and she commented on how easy it is for lawyers to gather this sort of evidence:
“This sort of evidence has gone from nothing to a large percentage of my cases coming in, and it’s pretty darn easy. It’s like, `Are you kidding me?’”
Some examples of people being caught out online include:
– A man sought custody of his children, while at the same time he created a new account on Match.com listing himself as being childless.
– A husband said that he didn’t have any issues with anger, yet posted in his Facebook status:
“If you have the balls to get in my face, I’ll kick your ass into submission.”
– Another father successfully used the Internet to prove that his wife didn’t spend any time with their children, when records from her World of Warcraft and Facebook Farmville accounts showed her as being online when she should have been with them.
The advice from divorce lawyers in the US is, if you’re going through a divorce; don’t publish anything online that could be used in court. Keep all comments to yourself and whatever you do, do not post photos of you and your new flame online as an attempt to get back at your estranged partner… it will only backfire on you.