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Does Facebook Contribute to Divorce?

While Facebook is a great way to connect with people, it may also be a good way to burn bridges, according to a new study.

A study by Divorce Online, a legal services firm, found that over a third of divorce filings last year contained the word “Facebook,” Smart Money reports. Is it a coincidence, or does Facebook somehow make infidelity more convenient?

According to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, over 80% of U.S. divorce attorneys stated that they’ve seen a rise in the number of divorce case involving social networking. “I see Facebook issues breaking up marriages all the time,” Gary Traystman, a divorce attorney in New London, Conn. said.

Some commentators argue that on Facebook affairs can develop at an unprecedented pace. “Affairs happen with a lightning speed on Facebook,” K. Jason Krafsky, co-author of “Facebook and Your Marriage” said. “It puts temptation in the path of people who would never in a million years risk having an affair.”

Facebook has not only provided divorce lawyers with clients, but has also proved to be an important evidentiary tool at trial. A spouse’s Facebook posts can be considered when determining alimony and child custody.

According to Randy Kessler, chair of the family law section of the American Bar Association, Facebook is an invaluable tool for gathering evidence in divorce cases. “It helps me cross-examine a witness,” Kessler said.

In granting child custody in a divorce case, judges consider the wishes of the child, the maturity level of the parents, evidence of parental drug or alcohol use, and the parents’ use of excessive discipline or emotional abuse. Facebook updates that relate to a spouse’s parenting skills, inappropriate comments about family life, or excessive partying may be admitted as evidence in such cases.

According to Randy Kessler, Facebook isn’t to blame for the divorces it helps facilitate. “It’s the people who use it,” Kessler said.

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