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Facebook enjoys spotlight in more than 30 percent of divorce proceedings

Since their emergence onto the Internet scene in the mid-2000s, social media websites have skyrocketed in both popularity and membership. Research conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that, as of January 2014, 74 percent of adults who use the Internet also have at least one social media account. Facebook is by far the most popular site among these users with more than 71 percent having an account with the global social media giant as of September 2014.

Facebook users readily use their personal accounts to share and comment on both personal and world news and events, share photographs and post videos and share links. Increasingly, Facebook is enjoying popularity among another group, divorce attorneys who contend that evidence from the social media website is "cited in one-third of divorces."

Attorneys report that information discovered on Facebook is readily cited as contributing to a couple's split and also used as evidence during divorce proceedings. There’s no doubt that Facebook provides an easy way to connect with both old and new "friends", maybe too easy. After all what husband or wife wouldn’t be upset to learn that a spouse is regularly chatting with an old flame or an attractive co-worker?

In cases where a couple is going through a divorce, information from a soon-to-be ex-spouse's Facebook account may provide important clues and evidence related to his or her spending habits, late nights out, substance abuse or infidelity. These comments, photographs and status time stamps can be used to prove that an ex may be hiding assets or is routinely out all night.

Individuals who plan to or who are going through a divorce would be wise to take a break from social media. Unfriending or blocking an ex from one's accounts is no guarantee that he or she won't be able to access and see one's posts and even status updates and photographs that are deleted can be retrieved.

Source: CBS12, "Social Media Contributes To A Higher Divorce Rate, Study Says," Melissa Howell, Jan. 20, 2015

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