cheating on facebook

Facebook: Prevents or Causes Marital Infidelity?


Social media has provided strong manifestations that resulted to taking steps into infidelity. According to the information gathered and analyzed by Mckinley Irvin, a Pacific Northwest family law firm, 1 out of 3 divorces has online affairs as the reason.

The director of the Social Media Graduate Program at the University of Florida, Andrew Selepak said that social media makes cheating easier because the people have the tools to get in touch with the people from their past. This normally occurs when an old flame posts something on their profile such as their photo and it will pop out of the timeline of people, or normally, Facebook, through its algorithm, will suggest a person to become friends with “someone you may know.”

Facebook is considered the “Tinder” of past significant others, or people one  briefly dated, according to Selepak.  However, social media also makes getting caught easier. Photos, posts, and messages leave a trail especially to someone is not knowledgeable in covering their social media tracks.

Social media as evidence in divorce court

In most cases, logging out of their account is something a cheating partner forgets to do. This leaves the door wide open for the other partner who is already suspicious which will enable him or her to gather all the evidence they need in the event that they do decide to file for divorce.

A lot of lawyers nowadays who take on divorce cases uses social media, especially Facebook, as the main source for tracking down infidelity. A private investigator will be hired to gather the social media accounts of the client and get as much information from the social media of the opposing party as possible. A secret account, specific post, or simply a lead can all be found in one social media alone, which is Facebook. Once there is a lead, the investigator will follow up on this to collect evidence of adultery.

In a domestic case, obtaining information from Facebook, has become a necessity and in the opinion of most lawyers who take on divorce cases, it is considered as malpractice or not exercising due diligence if a lawyer does not actively look through the social media of the cheating spouse.

Invading social media privacy

Evidence from Facebook is usually used to reach a settlement. If there is a need for further litigation, the information from Facebook will be subpoenaed. On the side of the cheating spouse, the lawyers advise their clients to deactivate all their social media accounts while the divorce case is pending. This is done so that the information that could possibly be gathered from the clients account will not be used against him or her.

A lot of people believe that if their Facebook account is not linked with the account of their marital partner, they can freely post photos and other evidence thinking there is no chance for them to be exposed. Some of them even think that they can delete Facebook posts that are incriminating believing that their partner would never find out. These are all mistakes.

The problem with these posts, even if curated with the right setting, is that they can still be visible through a mutual friend. Also, it is to be remembered that digital information stay in the internet forever. 

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas.

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