Spouse on Facebook! – More Than Friends?
Everyone knows that social media sites, like Facebook, promote social intercourse, between Friends.
But did anyone comprehend that the line between Friends, and Friends with benefits, would so frequently be crossed? In fact, according to a recent survey of U.S. divorce attorneys, Facebook was cited as a contributing factor in 20% of U.S. divorces.
While Canadian statistics were not cited, I can’t imagine that the Canadian experience would be all that much different.
In my own family law practice I’ve certainly heard stories from clients who, much to their dismay, have discovered that their spouse has been surreptitiously engaged in communicating with, or soliciting, individuals for the purpose of extra-marital hanky panky.
Such revelation may or may not be the final straw in the marriage, but invariably my client will ask about the legal implications of such infidelity.
It’s still a surprise when I inform my client that the principle of “blame” has not played any part in divorce law for many years.
In other words, in the eyes of the law, the fact that your spouse has been unfaithful provides neither you nor your wandering spouse with any legal advantage or disadvantage, save one.
Yes, it is still possible to obtain a divorce on the basis of adultery, rather than waiting the typical one year separation. I believe my last adultery divorce file was about twenty years ago. That’s obviously not because the wayward behaviour of spouses has changed.
It’s because dragging another party into the action, along with the required evidence of adultery, while tempting, will likely only cause more complications, and cost both of you more in related legal costs. After all, the mutual embarrassment and anger will virtually destroy any reasonable prospect of a negotiated settlement.
And what’s the top recommendation of one psychologist interviewed in the survey to avoid such a predicament? Spouses should share their passwords and situate the computer in a visible well travelled location in the house.
So what’s my advice to you and your spouse to minimize the risk of lawyering up over social media misuse?
Take the opportunity to maintain a special social connection – only this time – with each other!