Over the last few years, I have seen the birth and then steady of rise of social media playing a part in divorces here in New Jersey. As the social media craze has become more and more popular, Facebook is often mentioned as a way an affair was started. This one site has enabled people to reignite with former flames and/or very easily connect with someone new, making infidelity as easy as a click of the mouse. Posts, pokes and private messages are being presented to prove cheating, financial inconsistencies, and less than desirable parenting practices.
I have found that whether it comes in the form of status update or a new photo album, individuals normally will not think twice about publicly posting information about their personal lives for all to see on Facebook. For divorcing parties, these public streams of consciousness can make or break a divorce proceeding and have serious consequences for your alimony, child support, and child custody arrangements.
For instance, perhaps you are seeking to avoid or reduce an alimony obligation by stating you are recently unemployed due to the current decline in the nation’s economy. That argument may fall flat on its face when your spouse uncovers pictures of you and your new paramour on vacation at a five-star resort in the Caribbean.
Or, perhaps you are seeking custody of your children and trying to overcome allegations about a drinking problem. But, your drinking buddy posted on your wall about your recent weekend bender.
Are you denying the allegations of adultery that your spouse cited in her complaint for divorce? Well, when you gave her your Facebook password, she printed out an entire message exchange between you and your lover describing in great detail all of your adulterous escapades. Or maybe the Facebook page of your new boyfriend is open to the public and he accidently posted pictures of the two of you putting your relationship on public display.
We understand that many clients are excited to move on with their post divorced lives even before the divorce is final. However, be careful, during these times, one party may object to new girlfriends or boyfriends being introduced to the children. Depending on the attorneys and judge involved, limited or no visitation with new paramours until the divorce is final could be mandated. There is precedent for this type of action due to a NJ divorce case