Divorce Attorneys Now Using Facebook As Evidence In Court
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BOSTON (CBS) – Facebook is all about making connections to people, but it might also be causing more couples to break apart.
The social media giant can now be “Exhibit A” in divorce court.
Divorce attorney Anne Carrozza sees marriages ruined by social media every week. “People are getting into treacherous terrain,” she added.
One woman, who didn’t want to be identified, looked at her husband’s Facebook page after he left it open. “There was a whole other life,” she said. “I was shocked because I thought everything was great.”
Another woman who also didn’t want to go public couldn’t believe what she found on her husband’s page. It was filled with derogatory and threatening comments about her. “It made me sick to my stomach,” she said.
Stories like these have become so common, they’ve given birth to www.facebookcheating.com. Site founder Craig Gross said, “We’re seeing emails and stories come in every day.”
More often the next stop for these couples is divorce court. Bari Wienberger, a divorce attorney, said Facebook, “is opening a whole new spectrum of opportunity for lawyers to attack the other side.”
Wienberger added too many people fail to realize everything they say and do on these sites can and will be used against them. “The evidence is shocking and the courts are starting to rely heavily on it,” he says.
Social media expert Patrick O’Malley says posts are just part of the problem. “Pictures can make things look worse than they actually are,” says O’Malley. For instance, people might only have pictures at parties. They always have a drink. They look like alcoholics, and it might be those are the only drinks that they have.”
Those pictures can have a big financial impact, according to divorce attorney Jeff Landers. “You have a husband saying ‘I’m out of money, business is terrible,’ and all of a sudden you see him on Facebook or YouTube and he’s driving a new Mercedes.”
A survey of divorce attorneys found 80% of them say they increasingly look for evidence on social media.