In April of this year, we published an article about how, according to some marriage counselors, social media "tools" were contributing to marital breakdowns -- because bored middle-age folks were using them to reconnect with former sweethearts.
Now, according to the Associated Press, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) have added their influential voice to the "is social media good or bad for marriage" discussion by pointing out that social media is a veritable gold mine for damming evidence.
So, just how much evidence is buried in them there social media gold mines? The AAML says that a whopping 81% of its members have found court-worthy evidence from sources like Facebook, MySpace, Twiter, YouTube and LinkedIn. (By the way, Facebook wins the dubious race by supplying 66% of online divorce evidence.)
And if those statistics weren't shocking enough, here's a sampling of some of the things that people have inexplicably posted about themselves in the social networking space -- information that has been enthusiastically grabbed by their spouse's divorce lawyer:
And we saved the best one for last:
"You're finding information that you just never get in the normal discovery process -- ever," notes Leslie Matthews, a Denver divorce lawyer. "People are just blabbing things all over Facebook. People don't yet quite connect what they're saying in their divorce cases is completely different from what they're saying on Facebook. It doesn't even occur to them that they'd be found out."
And it's not just self-destructive things that divorcing people advertise on social media programs. They also (mis)use it to wage battles and smear campaigns against their hated spouse. "It's all pretty good evidence," states Linda Lea Viken, president-elect of the AAML. "You can't really fake a page off of Facebook. The judges don't really have any problems letting it in."
While Divorce Lawyers accept that, as Forrest Gump sagely advised: "stupid is as stupid does," they nevertheless offer these tips for divorcing folks who simply need a nudge in the direction of common sense:
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Certified Divorce Financial Analyst
Business Valuators / CPAs