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Till death (or Facebook) do us part...

Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace are great tools when used to stay connected with friends and family. But now, Raleigh, NC attorneys are saying that almost every divorce case they work with involves a spouse's misuse of these sites.  

Lee Rosen, an attorney with Rosen Law Firm in Raleigh, and Alice Stubbs, an attorney with Tharrington Smith LLP in Raleigh, have agreed that a majority of the divorce cases they handle are related to problems with a spouse's behavior on social networking sites.

"It's been really an interesting phenomenon," said Stubbs. "In the last five years, Facebook, MySpace - all the social networking sites have changed the face of domestic law, and we obtain a lot of evidence from social networking." 

One particular problem the attorney's point out is cheating. Users not only flock to sites like Facebook to stay connected with people close to them, but also have the ability to search for old classmates, best friends from long ago, and of course, lost loves. 

A specific instance shared on was the story of a man named "Scott," who chose to remain anonymous in the article. His wife, whom he was married to for 13 years, had cheated on him with a man she met on MySpace. 

"This was a former fiancé, an old flame," said Scott. "They hooked up online, found each other, started communicating, and that relationship started to grow a little bit."

According to Rosen and Stubbs, this type of story is one they hear often in divorce cases. Stubbs has even seen situations where people have left their job, children or the state they live in to be with someone they met on the internet. In most divorce cases, social networking sites are involved in one way or another, such as one or both spouses using the networking tools to find incriminating evidence on the other. 

"All sorts of things go on Facebook," said Rosen. "There's real cheating. There are things that sound like cheating and then there are all sorts of other things like threats, comments that shouldn't have been made. It is a communication device that now has every kind of communication, positive and negative." 

So how do you stop Facebook from destroying your marriage? Rosen, Stubbs and Scott have a few points of advice. They suggest sharing your username and password with your spouse so that “everybody knows exactly what's going on."

While sharing a username and password is fine, Rosen notes that breaking into a spouse's social networking account is illegal. Scott agrees that sharing such information with one another is the way to keep a long-lasting marriage.  

"I'm not advocating that anyone become a snoop, but if that's what you feel you have to do in a marriage relationship, there should be no expectation that everything you do is private, because you have a sacred obligation to your spouse," said Scott. 

Stubbs' advice is to just delete the entire account while going through a divorce to avoid the temptation of posting something that your spouse may be able to use against you.

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One idea
By zmatt on 2/11/2011 9:20:34 AM , Rating: 3
that I have seen used successfully is that couples will delete their old accounts and make one account for the both of them.

RE: One idea
By Brandon Hill on 2/11/2011 9:21:56 AM , Rating: 4
Yeah, I've noticed this as well. Always seems kind of weird when you're just trying to talk to one of them and not the other, but it works for them...

RE: One idea
By vol7ron on 2/11/2011 1:34:19 PM , Rating: 3
Social Networking, a place for temptation to destroy relationships. Facebook might make it easier for people to cheat, but it's also made it easier to catch a cheater.

Can you just imagine what would happen if the show Mad Men had Facebook?

RE: One idea
By fake01 on 2/14/2011 12:04:52 AM , Rating: 2
I rarely use Facebook and when I do it's always my GF's account I'm logged into. So I de-activated my account as I never used it.

Now I just share my GF's account. Although I rarely use it still, from time to time I may chat to someone (using Digsby) or read comments (on my Galaxy S) or from time to time check her status on the PC. Sometimes I even change her status to something weird and funny and everyone thinks it's her :D.

RE: One idea
By jeepga on 2/11/2011 9:40:42 AM , Rating: 5
A family sign-in feature would be really nice. You'd have one shared account and you'd have a secondary sign-in to identify who is really connecting. That person would then show online as normal with their own wall. The members of the family account would be in different tiers -- e.g. parents and children. Every member of the family would see the private and chat messages of the others if configured in such a way.

RE: One idea
By Obujuwami on 2/11/2011 10:57:42 AM , Rating: 2
You better copyright that idea and then sell it to Facebook, you will make a mint!

RE: One idea
By Mitch101 on 2/11/2011 12:03:25 PM , Rating: 2
An identity thief's and kidnappers dream.

People really need a closed system not one that opens the doors on all your personal info for everyone to see and makes it difficult in telling you how to make yourself and information private. Sadly you have to protect people from themselves.

RE: One idea
By mikeyD95125 on 2/11/2011 10:11:33 PM , Rating: 4
If you are using Facebook then you should have no expectation of privacy on it. They are in the business of selling personal information.

RE: One idea
By callmeroy on 2/11/2011 9:44:25 AM , Rating: 5
I have to admit I find humor in these kind of stories...because I just think its so ridiculous that people are so carefree on the very systems where the purpose is to communicate what you post to the masses on the Internet.

I mean you can read countless stories online about using privacy tools , protecting your identity, about using your damn brain and exercising some common sense?

Know what you post online-- is a record...that won't go away, understand that most vital rule and guide your actions around that rule...and you'll be fine.

RE: One idea
By Urbanmech on 2/11/2011 10:04:00 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think the article is just about posting the wrong things online, but the ability to communicate with anyone, from anytime in your life. I started talking to an old girlfriend through Facebook, led to some good times :) (I was single at the time though)

RE: One idea
By StraightCashHomey on 2/11/2011 1:17:56 PM , Rating: 1
Heh, yep, I've hooked up with a couple ladies from high school that I always regretted never getting a piece of. Facebook made it a 30-second search, and the first one actually sought me out instead.

RE: One idea
By UsernameX on 2/11/2011 10:01:03 AM , Rating: 2
Doesn't surprise me one bit!

RE: One idea
By Hiawa23 on 2/11/2011 2:41:38 PM , Rating: 4
Wow, what happened to personal responsibility? I thought I saw somewhere someone tried to say porn was also a big reason for divorce. All this says to me, with the internet the way it is now & you can reach out to people that wasn't possible in previous generations, you have more options, but it's up to you to make good decisions for you & your family.

RE: One idea
By Gio6518 on 2/12/2011 10:30:07 AM , Rating: 2
Thank You...

It's not facebooks or my spaces' fault...

It's the persons fault for committing the infidelity in the first place, then being stupid enough to flaunt these actions on a public site...

It's not like Facebook held a gun to someones head and forced them to cheat on their spouce...

RE: One idea
By Myg on 2/12/2011 7:39:19 PM , Rating: 2
Pornography *is* a huge reason for divorce, but more in the fact that it destroys, mainly, the male's ability to fully interact sexually and intimately with their wife and can occur before or during a marriage.

Most likely it will take longer if it happens during the marriage, because their "language" with each-other while making love is already laid down on ground that has not been disturbed by it yet. Also, depending on how dependent and engrossed the male gets into pornography will depend on the rate at which it breaks down the essential communication between husband and wife. If you have a very tolerant wife with lower standards (is used to being used sexually/etc from their early years) they will probably tolerate a lot, but theres a limit to it and there will be a sudden *disconnect* between husband and wife eventually and find its way out through some other crack in the relationship. This can also occur with those "romance novels" (don't know the proper term) for women and their expectations of life with their husband.

This means if you grew up looking at pornography, it could of ruined your chances for a proper marriage *before* you even got married; without you knowing or realizing (also mainly not being warned). Thats the danger of it, it works its way into your life without you realizing what its doing, usually till its too late.

Facebook, while interesting in the fact that it provides a means of outlet for relational stress in such an easy and convienent, way is definetly a breeding ground for those with loose-words and inability to properly commit to their chosen path in life.

Its hard to blame people too much, since they have been brought up and pushed with the ideal of promiscuity as a means of "freedom", so it goes to say that such cultural (yet ironically and grossly untrue) trends are surely just rearing their ugly head up where it finds a means.

But who really knows? There are soo many and too many reasons for these issues, that not a single one can be blamed for the entirety; but it still doesn't detract from the fact that these facets in society are growing at a rate which is *not* sustainable for a social coherency and goes against the founding principles of western society (especially the USA) as a whole.

Other societies have found other ways of quickly dealing with such issues, like stoning, execution, exiling people from social structures. Meanwhile we in the west have prided ourself on making forgiveness a central tenant of our inner workings which also means we need to be more vigilant. Fear of death and exile is a much greater deterrent then a reasoned and logical arguement to the, "masses" who crave and drool for quick and emotional explanations to the workings of life and seem to have no time to allow the deeper connections to settle amongst the masses of information they are digesting.

Critical thinking is a main pillar of personal responsibility, and its found to be suddenly lacking as of late, I wonder why?

RE: One idea
By StuckMojo on 2/13/2011 12:54:28 PM , Rating: 2

RE: One idea
By Lazarus Dark on 2/15/2011 7:31:41 PM , Rating: 2
For Facebook, isn't this against facebook policy? aren't you supposed to use real identities only? and I'm pretty sure sharing an account would then violate policy and get your account locked.

Headline doesn't seem to jive
By The Raven on 2/11/2011 10:18:46 AM , Rating: 5
Lee Rosen, an attorney with Rosen Law Firm in Raleigh, and Alice Stubbs, an attorney with Tharrington Smith LLP in Raleigh, have agreed that a majority of the divorce cases they handle are related to problems with a SPOUSE'S BEHAVIOR on social networking sites.

While sharing a username and password is fine, Rosen notes that breaking into a spouse's social networking account is illegal. Scott agrees that sharing such information with one another is the way to keep a long-lasting marriage.

This makes it sound like the headline shouldn't be...
Facebook/MySpace Tied to Most Divorce Cases

... which makes it sound like Facebook is encouraging the behaviour. Playa' gon' play, and apparently hata' gon' hate.

I would argue that the reason that FB "is destroying marraiges" is in the way people get addicted to it. But then again people get addicted to food and their husband cheats on them because they aren't taking care of themselves and get fat. Or some people get addicted to vidya games and their wife cheats on them. Or the Internet in general can be a vice. I guess the main reason that FB would be "tearing couples apart" is that they both get on FB and become so enthralled with their own act that they don't pay enough attention to their spouses. At any rate I think the "find an old flame" thing is a bit overplayed in the stories I hear regarding this.

Disclaimer: I am no fan of how frequently used FB has become, but I am one of those who is very glad that there is the tech to do the things that we can now with FB.

RE: Headline doesn't seem to jive
By lowsidex2 on 2/11/2011 11:21:16 AM , Rating: 5
Seems poor to suggest FB is the cause when its the people involved that is the cause. Facebook is no different than that bar, that gym, that workplace. It's a tool that helps facilitate a persons actions. Of course its tied to most divorces because most people are on it. And unlike that bar, that gym, that workplace... everything is recorded for the court to see, without any ambiguity or denial.

RE: Headline doesn't seem to jive
By The Raven on 2/11/2011 11:26:31 AM , Rating: 2
Very good point.

It is like saying water is linked to cases of divorce lol.
FB is just the way many people communicate these days.

RE: Headline doesn't seem to jive
By headbox on 2/11/2011 12:39:34 PM , Rating: 2
guns kill people too!

RE: Headline doesn't seem to jive
By tmouse on 2/11/2011 11:23:42 AM , Rating: 3
At any rate I think the "find an old flame" thing is a bit overplayed in the stories I hear regarding this.


Look there is something about the internet which is unique to it. It has the ability to bring out parts of peoples personality that would never come out otherwise. Maybe it’s the strange ability to be in a place of comfort and security and still be in a social environment. People clearly post pictures of themselves accessible to "friends" they have never meet face to face that they would rarely show to others in a social gathering of people they know. They also write things that can be tied back to them that they would rarely commit to paper. We get the false feeling that the net is temporary, meeting people online is the same as meeting them in real life and being in a safe place (at home ect. ) and being in public at the same time. The ease, spontaneity, false sense of security and convenience clearly lead people to do stupid things they would otherwise not do if they spent a few more moments thinking. The ease of looking up old flames IS kind of unique to social sites. It’s just there and so easy, now sure one could also do this other ways but it often would take more labor and in the process gives one the time to think, maybe this is not the best idea. Let’s face it how easy is it to have spontaneous conversations with members of the opposite sex in the real world, in a public place or go out to meet in private and feel safe doing so? Now online you’re in the comfort and security of your own room, alone, and maybe pissed off by your significant other, if the other party offers consolation things can start down a bad road where you wind up talking to them instead of the person you should be talking to. FB does NOT cause but it certainly facilitates the worsening of these types of problems. I’m not placing any blame but by their nature they encourage social interaction, good or bad somewhat free of the social restrictions we put on ourselves when we are outside.

RE: Headline doesn't seem to jive
By The Raven on 2/11/2011 11:32:38 AM , Rating: 1
The ease of looking up old flames IS kind of unique to social sites.

Kind of? I think we are in agreement then. My point was that this aspect of it has been overplayed in the news stories that I hear. I didn't say that it is not a factor at all.

Really I think the main problem is that 2 people who are married are looking at their own separate screens instead of at each other (or at least the same TV screen lol). That is where the marraige starts to fall apart.

But reading your comment I think we are pretty much in agreement.

RE: Headline doesn't seem to jive
By maven81 on 2/11/2011 1:54:09 PM , Rating: 2
"Really I think the main problem is that 2 people who are married are looking at their own separate screens instead of at each other"

As someone that went through a divorce recently, I think you really got at the heart of the issue here. Solid, long term relationships take work. Resolving issues before they become insurmountable requires that you talk to eachother. Not disappear into a void and spend the majority of time with your "friends".

By kattanna on 2/11/2011 11:01:26 AM , Rating: 4
you dont. facebook cannot destroy a marriage on its own. its a symptom of issues already in the relationship

fix those issues and facebook is moot.

By Rob94hawk on 2/12/2011 11:08:20 AM , Rating: 2
Somebody jack up his post to a 6! He's right on. All other posts are irrelevant.

By Parhel on 2/11/2011 12:55:22 PM , Rating: 2
A few divorce lawyers observing a pattern isn't really much to base an article on. It would be interesting, though, to see how this bears out in a real scientific study.

Unless divorce rates have dramatically increased, and social networking sites can be shown to account for the majority of that increase, I'll remain skeptical.

But I'm definitely in favor of further studies. Divorce is a huge problem, especially in it's effect on children. A better understanding of what factors typically lead up to divorce couldn't hurt.

Facebook cheating
By Darkk on 2/13/2011 1:42:57 PM , Rating: 2
It's great that facebook provide ways to meet new people and find old friends / ex's.

When I was friends with my gf's (now ex) on facebook and we were going out for a few months and things got serious. Towards the end I noticed she added new pictures of herself on her wall. The kind of pictures you would post on e-harmony. When I asked her is anything wrong she said everything is fine. So I left it as that. Then sometime later I noticed she started to remove pictures of me from facebook. I asked her about that and she said she was trying to protect herself due to what happened to her in the past with other relationships. Of course I was a little confused so started to pull myself away from her slowly.

It was obvious she was planning to break up but wanted to do it slowly so her friends wouldn't notice it too much. Geee.. How stupid can she be.

Case in point if you are friends with your gf/bf things can be taken for a grain of salt. I try not to take things too seriously when it comes to Facebook stuff but it was very obvious as what she was trying to do. Looking for the next guy to come along and dump me in the process. Which I am fine with it but just wish she just break up with me first.

At the end I end up dumping her first. Good riddance.


By jharper12 on 2/14/2011 9:30:52 AM , Rating: 2
I think all of this expectation of privacy stuff when you're married is complete and utter crap. Here's an idea world, don't get married to someone you're not prepared to share your life with. If you don't want to keep secrets from a loved one, then don't do anything so embarrassing or detrimental to your character that you're not willing to tell your significant other about.

If you haven't found that, then don't get married. I feel no pity for you whatsoever.

The real reason
By EricMartello on 2/11/2011 7:05:03 PM , Rating: 1
Social networking sites may make the act of being a cheater easier, but it isn't changing people so much as it is just amplifying the person's true character. The fact of the matter is that most women are sluts at the core, and most men are not going to say no if they have an opportunity to have sex with another woman despite being in a relationship. The divorce rate in the USA is quite high, mainly due to the flawed mindsets both men and women have adopted - the extreme self-entitlement that is so prevalent among people living in 1st world countries.

The bottom line is that people walk around with bloated sense of self-entitlement and they think that putting their own desires at the forefront is the way to go. That's never going to work, and if you cannot find happiness in making someone besides yourself happy then you're probably involved with the wrong person. You will know that you're with the right person when you can do things for them without ever feeling like they owe you something, and that should be a mutual thing.

As for the bit about it being "illegal" to access your wife's social networking account...hardly. Legally, the husband and wife are one entity and therefore it's not really snooping. It would be interesting if they made adultery a crime, considering that in many cases it has detrimental socioeconomic effects especially if children are involved.

Hell Yeah
By RugMuch on 2/11/11, Rating: -1
rofl. but it can happen
By chick0n on 2/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: rofl. but it can happen
By rcc on 2/11/2011 12:20:01 PM , Rating: 3
For what it's worth, I'd say if you call your girlfriend "dude" there are probably some issues anyway.

Just my 2 cents. : )

RE: rofl. but it can happen
By Parhel on 2/11/2011 12:57:55 PM , Rating: 2
I was like dude, we (me and her) used to be best friends back in JHS days dude

What was that . . . like last year?

RE: rofl. but it can happen
By lowsidex2 on 2/13/2011 11:06:50 AM , Rating: 1
Nice to know your JHS taught you the fine arts of English and sentence structure. I weep for the new generation of folks that think texting syntax is acceptable for all forms of communication.

RE: rofl. but it can happen
By StuckMojo on 2/13/2011 12:59:56 PM , Rating: 2
He's got a point, even though he didn't make it very clearly. There's no reason you shouldn't be able to be friends with your exes.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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