If you have a Facebook account no doubt you’ve engaged in a wee bit of innocuous stalking of an old flame, or had a sneak peek at the pictures of someone you lost touch with years ago, but could you honestly see social networking as a reason for seeking out a divorce solicitor? Social media connection and re-connection has exploded over the years, from the (now rather dated) Friends Reunited and MySpace to a plethora of dating websites and the often bare-all public display of Facebook. Social networking has oft been blamed for breeding a whole host of evils, but is now also being cited as the cause of increasing numbers of marital and relationship breakdowns. In fact, almost one in five online divorce petitions mention Facebook as a reason for marriage breakdown, according to one online law firm. Couples are blaming the social networking sites for tempting their partners to cheat or “engage in inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to.” Five minutes watching Jeremy Kyle will give you an insight into the power of Facebook…
Suspicious spouses are also using the social sites to discover their partner’s flirty exploits – sometimes even going to great lengths to employ specially designed software to spy on their partner’s online activity. Inappropriate emails found in a partner’s account have long been used as a demonstration of unreasonable behaviour, but social networking seems to have increased the amount of divorce cases that include an element of online infidelity – whether it’s a ‘cyber affair’, inappropriate communication, or proof of an offline discrepancy.
One man even resorted to Facebook to inform his wife he was divorcing her – updating his status to say he was ending his marriage for all the world to see. Another woman decided to file for divorce after finding out about her husband’s online affair with a woman he had never met. There was even an instance where a couple split after the husband expanded his sexual activity to sleeping with escorts in a virtual reality world.
Approximately 14 million Brits use social networking to get in touch with old friends, make new connections, and keep in touch with their social crowd and family. Friends Reunited was one of the first sites to help people reconnect online and was similarly blamed for a rise in divorces as members took the opportunity to get back in touch with exes and old flames. Today, Facebook has over one billion users and is the most popular social network on the internet, though there are plenty of other options for people with every conceivable hobby and interest. Worries over online privacy are rife in the news, but the social phenomenon shows no sign of abating, though it may be the case that users will becoming slightly more savvy about what they do and don’t post online… So, is social media ruining marriages or making it easier for people to find a partner they’re happy with?
If you’re in need of a divorce or family solicitor in Maidenhead, Beaconsfield or anywhere across the Buckinghamshire area, Frances Lindsay & Co offer mediation, arbitration, separation agreements and general legal advice for couples and individuals experiencing a breakdown of their partnership.