As evident in the 2009 Iranian protests, the prevalence of social media is breaking through the barrier of interpersonal communication and having a greater impact in the political world. In much the same way, social media is having an impact on divorce cases in the court room.
The Tampa Tribune recently published an article entitled, “Facebook plus divorce equals flammable situation,” which warned against the combination of social media and divorce.
The following is an excerpt from the article:
The world’s most popular social media site is revolutionizing the divorce experience, pouring toxin into virtually every stage of a collapsing marriage.
Rekindling old flames into blazing affairs. Exposing the ‘Exhibit A’ that divorce lawyers wave in the courtroom. Providing a global stage for feuding spouses to torch each other’s reputations in multi-media splendor.
Take, for instance, the Tampa wife who videotaped fights with her husband (camera in one hand, accusing finger in the other), to post on Facebook later. A child psychologist called it ‘like a reality TV show.’
Or the Tampa husband with a Facebook fixation, who posted minute-by-minute updates about his frustrations with parenting. Lawyers for his wife gleefully turned the online confessions against him in court.
This post vs. post culture will likely grow more common, as generations who grew up living and loving Facebook enter a cycle of marriage and divorce.
Several Tampa lawyers say angry spouses simply can’t resist the urge to stay on Facebook, despite the risks.
After years of posting updates and photos, and making connections with friends online, people’s Facebook profile page becomes part of their identity.
When a spouse attacks another’s Facebook page, or a new boyfriend/girlfriend touts their new romance, it’s hard to resist returning fire. Especially as relatives, close friends or co-workers are still linked to these pages as ‘friends.’
Some judges in Tampa try to throw a wet blanket on all the Facebook warfare.
In Florida, judges decide cases, so there are no juries to sway with scandalous photos. Florida law is heavily focused on moving forward, not incriminating backward, and encourages shared custody.
Still, Judge Steven Scott Stephens, who presides over many cases in Hillsborough County, said fighting spouses dig up everything they can on Facebook that they think looks incriminating.”