Facebook is playing a role in as many as a fifth of all divorces in the U.S., according to a study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Facebook can come up in a divorce case in several ways. One is that marriages sometimes end because people have affairs with people they met – or re-connected with – over the social networking site.

One of the most common uses of Facebook is getting in touch with old friends. But if a marriage is in some trouble already, and a spouse gets back in touch with an old friend (or an old flame) who is emotionally available, a simple “hello” could turn into something much more complicated.

But Facebook can also come up in a divorce case because it can provide evidence of a spouse’s misconduct. For instance, because people put so much of their lives onto the site, it can be a rich source of evidence of adultery.

Facebook evidence can also be used to show that someone has questionable parenting skills, or might be misrepresenting their financial circumstances.

People who are involved in the divorce process, or even just contemplating a divorce, should be very careful about what they put online through social media and what they allow others to put online about them. Once things are on the Internet, they can almost never be completely deleted.

Something that seems fun to a person at the time could come back later to haunt them. So before you post something on a social media site – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – it’s good to think about how it might look later to a neutral third party who may be making decisions about your future.

Massachusetts divorce lawyer, Attorney Michael Franklin represents individuals in all family law and divorce related matters throughout Worcester and the Worcester County region including the cities and towns of Auburn, Boylston, Clinton, Charlton, Holden, Leominster, Leicester, Paxton, Shrewsbury, Sturbridge, Westborough, Northborough, Webster, Dudley, and Oxford, Massachusetts.