NEW YORK (CBS 2) — As millions of people get involved with social media, we’re now starting to hear about some of the issues that come with using these sites.
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more: The social media world continues to grow. But with every new user comes the opportunity for an alternative life, which can include secrets that may break up a relationship.
It’s the new face of divorce. And whatever you say online can — and will — be used against you in court.
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably checked out one of your former flames online. This seemingly harmless behavior is going a lot further, and leading to the end of more and more marriages, reported CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson.
One woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, was shocked to find out that her husband had a whole other life with a handful of other women online.
“I was shocked because I thought everything was great,” the woman said.
“People are getting into treacherous terrain on Facebook, rekindling memories, relationships,” said divorce attorney Ann Carrozza.
Carrozza explained she has countless clients whose marriages have been ruined by social media.
“It’s absolutely devastating, it rocks someone’s world, and I see it every week,” Carrozza said.
The behavior is so common, there’s even a website called facebookcheating.com.
“We’re seeing emails and stories coming in every day,” said Craig Gross, who runs the site. Gross said hundreds of people have written about their spouses stepping out on them with the help of the social media site.
“The site is basically a place where you can go for help or a community when it comes to people cheating on Facebook,” Gross said.
Cheating isn’t the only offshoot of social media misuse, Johnson reported. A woman who wished to remain anonymous told Johnson she was shocked to find her husband had been writing derogatory and threatening comments about her on his Facebook page. Ultimately, it lead her to file for divorce.
“It did give me a glimpse into him that I hadn’t seen,” the woman said.
There are countless other examples of marriage-ending online behaviors, Johnson reported. One woman allegedly tried to hire a hit man on Facebook to kill her partner. Another man was arrested for bigamy after posting a picture of his second wife on Facebook without having divorced his first wife. And another woman said she found out her husband wanted a divorce because he posted it on his Facebook page.
“It’s opening up a whole new spectrum of opportunity for lawyers to attack the other side,” said attorney Bari Weinberger. Weinberger says too many people fail to realize everything they say and do on these sites can and will be used against them.
“The evidence is shocking and the courts are starting to rely heavily upon it,” Weinberger said.
“You have a husband saying ‘I’m out of money, business is terrible,’ and all of a sudden you see him on Facebook or YouTube and he’s sitting on his new Mercedes,” said Jeff Landers, a divorce financial advisor.
That can mean a change in alimony payments, child custody and so much more, depending on what you post.
“Just think, what would the reaction be if the judge saw it,” Landers said.
For more information on Kristine Johnson’s report, please check out the following links: