FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.
If you are married, you may wish to pause and consider how you behave on Facebook and other social media outlets. Why? Because as much as one-third of divorce filings in 2011 included the word "Facebook" within them, according to a report by ABCNews.com. And the numbers may be even higher a few years later.
On top of that, the article states that more than 80 percent of divorce attorneys report that social networking behavior is finding its way into divorce proceedings.
Facebook and other social media posts can be used to insinuate bad parenting, depending on the behavior displayed. They also can be referred to in an effort to suggest infidelity.
At times, Facebook and other social behavior is the last straw that breaks the camel's back in a marriage, according to the article. While one partner may have been enduring an unhappy marriage to a point, once the outrageous online behavior of the other partner is uncovered, the marriage crumbles.
Interestingly, some people have deactivated their Facebook accounts in order to preserve their relationships.
So what is the cart and what is the horse here? Does conduct on Facebook and other social media outlets simply bring home already faltering relationships? Or do Facebook and other social media outlets present an irresistible urge that results in bad behavior that otherwise might not occur?
The answer may depend on the specifics of particular relationships. But all that being said, if you value your marriage or relationship, you might want to think once, twice, and more than twice as to how you present yourself and act in the social media realm.
Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.
Editor's Note, March 22, 2016: This post was first published in February 2014. It has since been updated.
- Facebook Posts Can Haunt You: Discoverability in Litigation (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Workers' Firings Over Facebook Complaints Were Improper: NLRB (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Smartphones Are a Divorce Lawyer's New Best Friend (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Should You be Using Facebook for Jury Selection? (FindLaw's Strategist)