Saturday, February 13, 2010
By DAREH GREGORIAN
More people are cheating on their spouses using Facebook -- and more divorce lawyers are returning to the scene of the crime for evidence.
A whopping 81 percent of matrimonial lawyers say that in the past five years they've seen a massive spike in the use of social-networking information as evidence of infidelity, a new poll shows.
The most widely used cyber-evidence -- including messages to lovers and incriminating photos -- is found on Facebook, the survey from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reveals.
"Every client I've seen in the last six months had a Facebook page," said the group's vice-president, Ken Altshuler, "and the first piece of advice I give them is to terminate their page immediately."
Sixty-six percent of those surveyed said they'd used Facebook postings as evidence, with 15 percent from MySpace and 5 percent from Twitter.
Altshuler said he's had three cases in the past six months where Facebook postings were a key piece of evidence.
In one case, he was representing a woman getting divorced from her alcoholic husband and also seeking custody of their kids. The man had told the judge he had found God and hadn't had a drink in months.
"It was all the stuff you're supposed to say," Altshuler said.
The claim was exposed as bogus thanks to Facebook pictures of the man partying at a friend's house three weeks before the court hearing.
"The friend had a picture of him holding a beer in each hand with a joint in his mouth," Altshuler said, leading the judge to question the man's credibility.
"If you have your picture taken, you never know where it's going to wind up," Altshuler said.
He also cited another recent custody case where his client's ex-wife had claimed she was engaged and set to be married in a bid to show how stable her household was.
That was called into question by the woman's Facebook posting where she wrote "she'd broken up with her abusive boyfriend and that if anybody had a rich friend to let her know," Altshuler said.
He said the posting was given to his client by a friend of the ex-husband who was still Facebook friends with the ex-wife.
"People don't think about who has access to their Facebook page," Altshuler said, and faux Facebook friends will usually sell out a true pal's spouse.
"It's often the third party who's the source of information," he said.
"Don't do anything because you don't know who's looking. A good attorney can have a field day with this information."