‘Happily ever after’ less likely for married couples using Facebook

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by Katherine Whaley / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 12:11 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 17 at 12:21 AM

HOUSTON—Did Facebook destroy your marriage?  The popular social networking site is quickly becoming a breeding ground for divorce, and a popular evidence-gathering tool for attorneys.  If you find that hard to believe, one KHOU 11 News viewer wants to tell you what happened to him.

“I was married for a little more than nine years. I saw my then wife hiding the computer screen a little bit, and talking to somebody on Facebook and hiding the computer screen,” this recent divorcee (who wished to remain anonymous) told us. 
That somebody was a former high school boyfriend, and what started as an online conversation turned into a very real affair.  
“It was through other friends that she had confided in that I found out what was really going on,” he explained.
It’s the same story divorce attorney Cindy Diggs sees all the time. 
“’My wife or my husband started talking to her old boyfriend or his old girlfriend on Facebook,’ and that seems to be a very common starting point,” said Diggs.
The end point is usually divorce court.  
“I think the impact of Facebook on divorce is tremendous,” she said. 
Diggs says Facebook has not only added a complication to marriage; the site has also changed the rules of the courtroom as well.
“Now we’re going into court with printouts of Facebook messages and emails,” she said. 
Diggs says if you think those conversations are private, keep in mind, they could become fair game in evidence. 
In 2010 the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers did a survey - 80 percent of lawyers indicated they had used Facebook in their cases or had Facebook used against them.
We posed the question of Facebook’s impact on divorce on our KHOU 11 Facebook page, and it ignited a huge debate.  Many viewers believe Facebook plays a part. If it wasn’t the cause, it at least made it one step easier to rekindle an old romance.
We asked the same question to our divorcee.
“No I don’t blame Facebook.  People who commit adultery or infidelity—whether it is Facebook, or if it is a bar, or if it is a church group or anything else—they will find ways to commit these acts,” he said.
These private acts that start out online usually do not have a happily-ever-after ending.

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