We have all turned to social media a time or two when we are bored, are looking to connect for just a bit, or just don’t know what else to do. All told, social media seems harmless enough. The prevailing wisdom, however, finds that excessive social media usage can take its toll on a marriage, and more and more divorcing couples are citing social media as playing a role in the dissolution of their marriages. If you are facing a divorce, you are facing a difficult path forward, but an experienced McLennan County divorce attorney can help.
Infidelity Has Never Been Easier
Spouses cheat for myriad reasons that often have to do with their own insecurities and other emotional hurdles, but infidelity is obviously exceptionally hard on marriages. For those spouses who are predisposed to looking outside their marriages for whatever it is they are looking for, social media has made it incredibly easy for them to do so. While a spouse who is faithful only because cheating is too much work is not much to write home about, social media has definitely blurred some lines that, in the past, helped define marriages.
Filling an Emotional Need
In the past, we turned to our partners for the majority of our emotional needs. For one thing, they are there. The more couples connect in these ways, the deeper their bonds grow, which strengthens marriages. It used to be rare for couples with long marriages behind them to seek a divorce, but it is becoming more and more common, and one element of this is that spouses are finding other support outside their marriages – often on social media, which is always there and always ready to have a chat (any time of the day or night). Social media has become a constant in our lives, and when a spouse allows this interloper to fill in for the connection that used to come from his or her spouse, it can instigate a crack in the foundation of a marriage.
Social Media Can Feel Like a Third Wheel
Marriages are between two people. You married your spouse – for better or worse. Social media, however, has become so ubiquitous that some spouses feel like their marriage contains a third party. Even when one’s participation with social media is on the up and up – and has nothing to do with infidelity or emotional connections outside the marriage – it can still represent a disconnect between married spouses. When you have a story, anecdote, or thought to share with your spouse and he or she is lost in a social media platform doing whatever it is that he or she does on there, it is a missed opportunity to connect, and when these missed opportunities begin to pile up, it can leave a shell of a marriage. As the amount of time a spouse spends on social media rises, the more profound the effects on a marriage can be. Ultimately, your spouse’s relationship with social media can make you feel less and less relevant.
What Happens on Social Media Does Not Stay on Social Media
What may feel like very private interactions or posts are anything but. Nearly everything that has ever been posted – however briefly – can live on indefinitely in one form or another. That private message you sent to a friend of a friend can come back to haunt you in divorce court. In fact, social media continues to play an increasingly starring role in divorce cases. This is especially true when it comes to factors like the following:
Relationships outside the marriage
Spending down, getting rid of, or otherwise disappearing marital funds
Poorly considered comments about one’s spouse
Less than fair divorce dealings
Character attributes unbecoming a parent (as they relate to custody matters)
Spouses who live and breathe social media tend not to be as careful as they should be when it comes to their posts, and this fact can backfire dramatically in divorce court. What you or your spouse share online can also be shared in your divorce case, which should give you pause.
Social Media and the Astounding Statistics
The National Law Review shares some serious statistics and thought-provoking information as these relate to social media and divorce in the United States. According to one study, social media usage correlates closely with the quality of one’s marriage and overall happiness - as usage rises, overall happiness and relationship quality decrease. Some of the startling statistics shared include:
More than 80 percent of divorce attorneys are able to mine evidence on social platforms that are worth presenting in court.
More than 65 percent of divorce cases use Facebook as a principal source of evidence.
A full third of all divorces flow from affairs that were initiated online.
These statistics tell a grim story that is difficult to refute – social media is having a profound effect on marriages.
Is It Legal?
Many people wonder if it is legal to mine for divorce dirt online, and the answer is that this is relatively new territory, which makes it something like the wild west. As states firm up their laws on the matter, the legal parameters could tighten. Further, there are some laws on the books that prohibit underhanded dealings in some states – such as making a false account and friending your spouse. Things like overtly hacking into your spouse’s accounts are also generally off-limits in the eyes of the law.
The more salient point here, however, is that a lot of online activity is not hidden and is not private information. For example, if your spouse uses your joint checking account to pay for his or her premium Tinder account, that is open to interpretation in your divorce. Much of the evidence that will play a pivotal role in divorce cases comes from posts and profiles that are open for anyone to see.
An Experienced McLennan County Divorce Attorney Can Help
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in McLennan County, Texas, is a trusted divorce attorney who is on your side and here to help, so please do not wait to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.