Facebook, Twitter and other social networking services allow users to share their lives with their friends and family, but posts and pictures on such sites can result in negative consequences during a divorce. According to a recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, over 80 percent of lawyers in the United States have seen an increase in the number of divorce cases involving social networking. Likewise, a study from 2011 found that over 33 percent of U.K. divorce filings from that year contained the word "Facebook."

Virginia currently has no laws preventing digital evidence, such as that collected from a Facebook page, from being used in a divorce case. This makes it important for those considering or currently undergoing divorce to ensure that they hide or delete any online information that might be used against them in court. For instance, an individual who posts hundreds of pictures of themselves on expensive vacations is unlikely to win when the time comes for a judge to determine alimony or child support obligations.

Experts say Facebook can also be a primary cause of a divorce. One author explained that Facebook allows users to reconnect with former partners, which puts "temptation in the path of people who would never in a million years risk having an affair." Another expert explained that although Facebook and other social networking sites may feel private, it is easy for users to incriminate themselves through restaurant check-ins, posts on a friend's wall or other seemingly harmless actions.

One attorney reported that he handles about 15 divorce cases every year in which digital evidence, like text messages, web browsing history and emails are used as evidence. Of these, he explained, about 60 percent solely involve Facebook.

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