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Is Facebook part of a new era in divorce proceedings?

If you are considering divorce, have you thought about the possibility of having to turn over your Facebook password to the court? That happened at least once in the last year, and Michigan residents who are considering divorce may want to log in to their social networking accounts to do a little house cleaning, if not some outright "de-friending."

A recent report in The Wall Street Journal indicated that Facebook is increasingly coming into play in divorce proceedings. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers claims that over 80 percent of divorce attorneys surveyed in the United States reported a spike in cases that involve Facebook content as evidence.

A husband-and-wife team even wrote a book on the subject -- "Facebook and Your Marriage." The couple notes that, without Facebook, illicit affairs would probably take much longer to develop. As the husband puts it, social media sites like Facebook allow something like an office romance to commence after "just a few clicks."

So what does all this mean in terms of divorce? In short, some very incriminating information makes its way to Facebook, whose users typically feel safe to vent about or expose parts of their lives that may otherwise remain private. However, not all Facebook content is blatant, and divorce courts are admitting evidence from texts and emails in addition to photos, updates and comments from social media sites -- all to be analyzed in life-altering divorce proceedings.

With these issues in mind, our readers in Brighton who are considering divorce will want to weigh the possible legal effects of their social media accounts. It may also be a good idea to ask yourself if your spouse's account shows any evidence that could be helpful to you in your divorce settlement.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Divorce lawyers turn to social media to turn up the goods on cheating spouses," June 24, 2012

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