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IBA: Divorce and Social Media

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An overwhelming 81% of the nation’s top divorce attorneys say they have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence during the past five years, according to a recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). Facebook holds the distinction of being the unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence with 66% citing it as the primary source.

Facebook relaxed privacy settings over the last year. Some attorneys believe this has led to some users’ personal information being released without the user’s knoweldge. In May, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the problem and, in a blog, announced new tools making it easier for users to tighten privacy settings and block outside parties from seeing personal information.

Indianapolis attorney Nissa Ricafort of Broyles Kight & Ricafort said, “Facebook and Twitter are enticing to individuals because they offer an opportunity to be spontaneous and to share the fun and exciting things that are happening in their lives. The problem is that people often post their messages in a hasty manner without considering who might be reading the messages or the implications of the content of their messages. This is why divorce lawyers end up with so much ‘dirt’ on people to present in court proceedings. These lawyers often are able to capitalize on an individual’s lack of judgment that he or she has posted on the web for all to see.”•

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