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How can social media impact a divorce?

Since its inception, social media has come to influence several major facets of our lives, from the ways in which we communicate and how we gather information, to even our interpersonal relationships.  Of the 86 percent of Americans currently using the internet, 79 percent report logging into popular social media site Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center.  About 30 percent of internet users report regular use of other social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  Researchers and divorce attorneys across the country are reporting a new trend—social media has now becoming a prime factor in many divorces.  Our Midland, Texas divorce lawyers explore the potential relationship between social media and divorce below. 

Social Media and Affairs 

Along with the rise in the popularity of social media sites has come a new phenomenon known as digital infidelity.  According to a study conducted by the University of Indiana, many social media users who are married or in relationships use the internet to keep in touch with exes or platonic friends that they could connect with in a romantic manner. The ease of instant access to these negative influences on a marriage make it all the more tempting for affairs to start.
Physical infidelity has always existed, but with social media spouses may also engage in so-called digital cheating.  These online affairs are more emotional in nature, but can prove equally destructive to a marriage.  The digital trail left by the digitally cheating spouse can give the other spouse the evidence they need to launch a divorce.

Social Media During a Divorce 

Not only is social media at times the cause of divorce, or a contributing factor, it can also come to play a large role during the divorce. Social media has become a major source of evidence during a divorce.  Divorcing spouses may seek to introduce evidence of an affair or other marital misconduct through social media messages, posts, or images.  Social media may support the award of alimony in some cases, or even weigh-in on child custody matters.  Many courts will admit social media evidence into a trial on central aspects of the divorce.  Divorcing spouses should be aware of the potential havoc that social media can cause during a divorce and avoid using social media during this critical time.