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Facebook and the changing face of divorce

Many Massachusetts residents are Facebook users and are aware of the types of information that can be found on such a site. For divorce lawyers, some of this material can be important when dealing with contested issues such as spousal or child support. If an individual claims that he or she is unemployed, it could be damaging if the other spouse's attorney found a picture of that individual buying a large car or a new house.

If a spouse claims infidelity as grounds for a divorce, a photo or a series of messages on Facebook could be evidence of an affair. In cases where a spouse is alleged to have taken part in an affair, it is often not necessary to prove that adultery occurred. Instead, the information found on the site could be enough to infer that adultery took place and result in a judge finding that it most likely occurred.

Those who are smart enough to keep information off of Facebook during a divorce case could still find themselves in legal trouble. This is because friends or family members could post incriminating photos that could be used during a contested divorce. In addition, it is important to remember that Facebook owns all content posted to the site. Therefore, it could potentially provide evidence to his or her spouse's attorney with or without that person's permission.

A judge may accept evidence from a variety of sources during a contested divorce hearing. Therefore, anything posted on Facebook could determine whether an individual is required to pay child support or spousal support. It could also play a role in child custody proceedings. Those involved in such a situation should consult with an attorney who can advise as to how information found online can be used in such a case.

Source: FindLaw, "Facebook Divorce", accessed on Feb. 13, 2015

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