Do you live by Facebook?
Is your day filled with reading other people’s posts about what they’re doing or more likely, an exaggerated version of what they would like to be doing with their lives and secretly wishing you were doing the same?
Or maybe you desire more Facebook friends to keep up with your other so-called Facebook friends, whom you haven’t seen in years or even know, just to keep in pace with this modern-day phenomenon of social networking?
I admit I did not grow up in the computer age and used what was once called a “typewriter” in college. Yes, call me "old school" for those of you who may be too young to know what a typewriter even looks like, here’s a refresher…it has an inked ribbon that punches a piece of paper when keys with the alphabet printed on them are pressed.
Perhaps you searched for an old flame on Facebook, just to see what they are posting?
Admit it…it’s human nature, but now that curiosity could cost you a pretty penny as well as some heartache.
According to a survey out by Divorce Online, a British legal services firm, more than one third of divorce filings last year contained the word, wait for it…. “Facebook."
That’s right, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says more than 80 percent of divorce attorneys in the United States have witnessed a rise in the number of cases citing social networking as the cause of their breakup.
“I see Facebook issues breaking up marriages all the time,” says Gary Traystman, a divorce Attorney in New London, Connecticut.
Of the 15 cases Traystman says he handles a year where computer history, texts and emails are admitted as evidence, 60 percent exclusively involve Facebook, cites the Wall Street Journal.
“Affairs happen with a lightning speed on Facebook,” says K. Jason Krafsky, author of the book “Facebook and Your Marriage”.
In reality, Krafsky says, office romances and out-of-town trysts can take months or even years to develop.
“On Facebook,” he says, “they happen in just a few clicks.”
Social networking on Facebook offers an opportunity to reconnect with past loves and allows others to “friend” someone they may not even know or only met once in passing. It also puts temptation in the path of those who would ordinarily never risk having an affair.
Some use Facebook as their public diary, and post inner-most thoughts or perhaps even “rants” say lawyers, which can be printed and saved and can be used against you in a court of law.
When couples land in divorce court, divorce attorneys say Facebook posts can even be used to determine alimony and child custody.
Psychologists say the site provides a deceptively comfortable forum for some people to let off steam about their daily, humdrum lives and can inadvertently arouse the suspicions of spouses.
"The difference with Facebook is it feels safe, innocent and private,” says Randy Kessler, a lawyer who currently chairs the family law section of the American Bar Association in Atlanta, Georgia.
"People put an enormous amount of incriminating stuff out there voluntarily.” It could be something as innocuous as a check-in at a restaurant, he says, or a photograph posted online.
Last year, a superior district court judge in Connecticut ordered a divorcing couple to hand over their Facebook passwords to the other’s attorneys.
Kessler says it’s an extremely useful vehicle to gather evidence. “It helps me cross-examine a witness,” he says. Any pattern of behavior that’s recorded on Facebook relating to parenting skills, excessive partying or even disparaging remarks about a spouse that violates a court order could be admissible in court.
Over the weekend, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg changed his own Facebook status to "married" and received more than one million “likes” from his other Facebook friends. Should his new wife be worried? Perhaps marrying one of the wealthiest men in the country provides her with added solace.
Of course, it’s not Facebook’s fault it’s being dragged through divorce court, says Kessler.
“It’s the people who use it.”