WARNING: If you’re involved in a divorce case, or ANY legal case at all, stay away from social networks. Or at least don’t incriminate yourself.
According to the Chicago Tribune the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says 81 percent of its members have used or faced evidence plucked from Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking sites, including YouTube and LinkedIn, over the last five years.
Facebook is the unrivaled leader for turning virtual reality into real-life divorce drama, Viken said. Sixty-six percent of the lawyers surveyed cited Facebook foibles as the source of online evidence, she said. MySpace followed with 15 percent, followed by Twitter at 5 percent.
About one in five adults uses Facebook for flirting, according to a 2008 report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. But it’s not just kissy pix with the manstress or mistress that show up as evidence. Think of Dad forcing son to de-friend mom, bolstering her alienation of affection claim against him.
Social networks are also ripe for divorce-related hate and smear campaigns among battling spousal camps, sometimes spawning legal cases of their own.
“It’s all pretty good evidence,” Viken said. “You can’t really fake a page off of Facebook. The judges don’t really have any problems letting it in.”
The attorneys offer these tips for making sure your out-loud personal life online doesn’t wind up in divorce court:
WHAT YOU SAY CAN AND WILL BE HELD AGAINST YOU
If you plan on lying under oath, don’t load up social networks with evidence to the contrary.