Facebook & Divorce Down Under
By now almost everyone has heard that social media websites have been cited as a big factor in many recent divorces in the United States. Popular social media websites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, Photobucket and others have become the latest battlegrounds in divorce and child-support contests due to the fact that Attorneys and private investigators can so easily find incriminating evidence on the Internet. Last year, over three quarters of the attorneys surveyed in an American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers study said they had seen an increase in cases involving evidence gleaned from social media.
Now, recent news from Australia in the Sydney Morning Herald shows that the phenomenon is not just limited to the U.S., and that many married couples down under are discovering that making connections on Facebook creates an opportunity for contact with past romantic partners, raising the potential for trouble in current relationships, and ultimately raising the chance of divorce too. Facebook was identified in the Herald article as the single most dangerous social media site when it comes to breaking up relationships and that some people felt Facebook actually serves to encourage people to flirt with one another. Facebook appears to support maintaining relationships that otherwise would only be fleeting, and serves to connect people who would not otherwise communicate at all.
Private detectives and divorce lawyers are both seeing a lot of cases that come through with the door with Facebook and social media being major factors. Due to the ease and anonymity it is easy to make new friends or rekindle old flames online. What starts out innocently can easily become destructive and lead to marriage problems and an eventual breakup. People with problems in a marriage may fall prey to the idea that online relationships are harmless and that no emotional attachments will be formed, but the evidence shows otherwise. Family law specialists are also seeing an attendant rise in the number of clients seeking counseling services as a result of the online turmoil.
Because people put a lot of information on Facebook that they should not, it can create a lot of spousal jealousy and suspicion as an unintended side effect. Researchers have noted that suspicion can lead to increased levels of scrutiny of a partner’s Facebook page, and more scrutiny only leads to finding more jealousy-provoking information online with each visit. The wealth of information and evidence of infidelity on Facebook may be the cause of domestic problems for spouses, but private investigators are enjoying a significant rise in investigations related to online relationships in Australia and the wealth of information available on Facebook for those looking for evidence of infidelity has made their work easier than ever before.
Here in the U.S., the problem of online infidelity and Facebook continues to grow. After 20 marriages fell apart in one small town, one American pastor recommended that everyone in his congregation delete their Facebook profiles immediately if they wanted to have a chance of remaining married. It is probably only a matter of time before the problem grows to the same proportions in Australia.