A case recently made national headlines where a wife from Ohio allegedly found out her husband had married another woman in Florida by seeing the pictures on the other woman’s Facebook page. This case is now going through heavy litigation regarding interstate custody matters, jurisdiction, and determinations of whether the marriage is valid or not. The headline for this case, of course, is focused on how the woman discovered this information over the social networking site, Facebook.
Facebook is used often in family court. It is not very often that you are able to discover your spouse leading a secret life or find other wedding pictures. More likely, it is used to discredit the character or credibility of the other party. An article recently written by Veronica Gonzalez in South Carolina describes the practices of attorneys in that area, which are the same as in Minnesota.
One of the most common ways that Facebook is used in divorce and custody proceedings is as evidence of the parent’s lifestyle and behavior. If chemical dependency is an issue in the case, it is not uncommon to be able to find pictures of a parent drinking or partying, or find incriminating comments either they posted or someone else posted on their page.
If you are going through a divorce or custody matter, it is best to either not use the social networking sites at all or to limit both your privacy settings and your friends list. This will help protect you from anything being used against you in court, as the court will give weight to evidence pulled from social networking sites.