Relationship Status: Divorced

Facebook and other social networking resources are becoming big factors when it comes to divorce, according to a new study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. In fact, four out of every five  attorneys say they’ve seen an increase in the number of cases that use social media as evidence against an ex- or soon-to-be-ex-spouse.

Compromising photos, comments, messages and the like all provide dirt. “Facebook is a great source of evidence,” says divorce attorney Ken Altshuler in a story on telegraph.co.uk. “It’s absolutely solid evidence because [the spouse] is the author of it. How do you deny that you put that on?” Lee Rosen, another divorce attorney, says about 25% of his cases include incriminating information found on social media sites. Evidence might be Facebook photos posted by a mother who continually buys and wears expensive jewelry but claims she needs more child support. Or it might be pictures of secret lovers caught unaware.

Besides providing proof against a cheating mate, social networking sites, especially Facebook, have increased the ease of having an affair—physical and emotional—since it’s now fairly simple to find old flames and flirt.

All this makes me wonder how careful we are with both our own social networking profiles and marriages—not necessarily in that order. Are we talking as we should to people of the opposite sex? Are our comments above reproach? Would we mind if our spouse saw everything we wrote?

If we say we’re immune to divorce, we could actually be just a bit more vulnerable to it since our guard is down. So as we steer around the false intimacy that social networking can generate, let’s look out for emotional slippery slopes.

Who wrote this?

Meredith has had two careers: one as a writer/editor for both Focus on the Family and The Navigators, and one as an English teacher trekking far-flung corners of Europe, Africa and Asia. She now rejoins Focus, but with souvenirs—including new eyes with which to better view American culture.

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