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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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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".

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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