Since Facebook and other social media sites have been blamed for causing 20 percent of divorces in America, it was only a matter of time before your social media information was up for grabs during divorce and custodial battles.
Well, the time is nigh divorcing couples: A judge in Connecticut reportedly ordered a couple to exchange their social networking passwords, according to Forbes.
With the court order, Stephen and Courtney Gallion now have access to each other's Facebook and dating website profiles and all of the information that data entails. Given how notoriously open people have been on social media sites, it's likely to be a lot.
In addition to being a marriage killer, information posted on social media sites has become more commonly-accepted in courts as evidence in lawsuits, such as divorce and personal injury cases and family court proceedings. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers previously found that 66 percent of its members used Facebook for obtaining evidence involving marital discord and misconduct.
In the Gallions' divorce case, the husband's attorney wanted to use evidence from Courtney's social networking accounts about her feelings about the children and her ability to take care of them in order to argue for full custody for Stephen, according to Forbes. The judge agreed and ordered both attorneys to exchange passwords to conduct discovery. He even issued an injunction to prevent both spouses from deleting any material on their accounts.
With the increasing and more brazen use of social media sites and the continuous erosion of the concept of privacy, situations like the Gallions' will become more and more common. Even if you're not remotely contemplating a divorce, you should really take the Gallions' example to heart, and be careful about what you post. You never know if a family law attorney will make it come back to haunt you.