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Facebook is fair game in Massachusetts divorces

Facebook is a medium in which people can share ideas, post pictures and reconnect with old friends. The social media website burst onto the scene not long ago, but it is now a leader in social networking, connecting people from all over the world. We all know what Facebook is, and many of us have our own accounts, but some may be unaware of the role Facebook can play in other arenas of life -- such as divorce.

A recent news article reported that more than 30 percent of divorce filings include Facebook as evidence, and attorneys don't see that trend subsiding. In fact, 80 percent of divorce lawyers say they've noticed an increased use of social media in divorce cases. So what does that mean for you as you work through a divorce?

First, it means that Facebook is fair game -- not only for you, but also for your spouse. Most judges in Massachusetts allow Facebook posts, messages and photos to be used as evidence in divorce cases, so it's important to be careful about what you post if you're going through a divorce. On the flip side, though, if your soon-to-be ex is posting inappropriate comments or photos that could work in your favor, you can probably use it in your case.

If you decide to start looking for evidence against your spouse, however, there are boundaries to be aware of. While most judges are open to evidence from Facebook, spying can quickly turn problematic when you start hacking into your ex's accounts. Not only will many judges dismiss certain evidence if it was obtained wrongly, certain snooping techniques are illegal, so you could find yourself dealing an entirely new set of legal issues.

Source: My Fox Boston, "Study: Facebook cited in one-third of divorce filings," May 21, 2012

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