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Facebook, Twitter and Divorce, Redux

Back in February and again in April, I warned people who are in a divorce or other family law dispute about being cautious about the information shared over social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, and implored restraint on the texts they post. All too frequently, I wind up either using them against a litigant or defending against their use against my clients, and judges in Louisville are more than willing to base portions of their rulings on statements made over media designed to broadcast to the public.

Because of the insatiable desire that people have to overshare, the advice against Facebook/twitter sharing goes beyond anecdotal tales of rekindled old romances, but also goes to issues of fiscal recklessness, hidden assets, hidden debt, child neglect, destructive habit, child abandonment, physical endangerment and the entire panoply of failure that causes relationships and lives to collapse. My advice usually includes a command that before every post or tweet or text, assume that the judge will be reading the statement as evidence. As a longtime family law practitioner, I'm used to seeing people err, and make every effort to point my clients away from committing these types of mistakes.

I'm obviously not the only lawyer who feels this way. According to a new study commissioned by Divorce Online, more than a third of all new divorce filings contain the word "Facebook", and roughly 80% of family lawyers have seen a significant rise in factors relating to social networking in their domestic relations cases.