Can Facebook and social media ruin a marriage?

BALTIMORE - It's all about curiosity.

You go to Facebook and look up an old flame.

You find them and friend request.

Then you start messaging, then that leads to talking on the phone, and that leads to meeting out for a drink, and then and then this fantasy could lead you to divorce.

If you're looking up old girl friends or boyfriends it could be more than just curiosity.

 "If I'm going to Facebook the first thing that people need to realize is why."

Bob and Lori Hollander are married, marriage counselors in Owings Mills.

The couple says they've been seeing clients where infidelity started through Facebook or other social media.

The impact of social and electronic media on marriage is growing.

The Hollanders say even they have had personal discussions about Facebook and old flames.

But that's what it should be a discussion between a before you look up that old beau or Tyra in your life, you should talk

"Just because you flirt over the computer doesn't mean that it's not cheating and people make up excuses and minimize the impact that those things can have upon their relations ship the thin that hurts is you're doing something behind your partners back." Lori Hollander says.

"A lot of times people do this because there are real problems real gaps in the relationship and they feel they can fill those gaps, even though they may be unconscious they can fill those gaps through something like this." Bob Hollander says.

But if the counseling doesn't work Social media could lead you to a courtroom.

The Constitution says you have the right to remain silent and anything that you say or do can be held against you in a court of law.

But when it comes to social media and electronic means, people are more than willing to tell you all their business.

"Whether it's posts or its tweets or whatever it is people have in essence the compulsion to confess people love to talk."

Family Law Attorney Fred Silverstein says, say for example a husband is claiming that he has been faithful and doesn't have any money.

He says you could look at this man's Facebook page and see that well, he's done some shopping recently, bought season tickets to the Orioles, and has done some traveling to Florida, with a blonde who definitely isn't his wife but she shows up in several pictures.

May not be enough for a judge yet, but it can give divorce attorneys a lead for more investigation.

"You know this is going to be a case that involves alimony, child support it involves grounds for divorce and there they are with their new significant other and they're traveling and you say can this be real that's what happens." Silverstein says.

What's the best advice an attorney can give their clients right now?

Don't put your business in the streets, or in the case of social media out in the ether.

"The first thing we tell them is to get off of social media because not only you find out directly you can get enough information off of Facebook if there's drinking if the family is there where they're not supposed to be if the husband or wife is somewhere they're not supposed to be." Family Law Attorney Stacy Lebow-Siegal says.

She says electronic discovery has taken something like a divorce case that 15 years ago would have been just a briefcase full of documents and turned it in crates and crates of paper of electronic records.

Everyone can leave a trail.

E-mail and social media can put all the nooks and crannies of your life on a computer disc.

"I don't think a lot of people understand the ramifications and the broad spectrum that the social media has.  You do have a right to privacy you do have a right to no self-incrimination you have all the rights under the constitution but when you're knowing choosing to put it out there then you're putting it out there." Lebow-Siegal says.

In more than a third of all divorces, social and electronic media is mentioned in court papers.

As the impact grows, and with a contested divorce costing more than 15 thousand dollar seeing a marriage counselor to talk about the need to look up that old flame, may be a better idea than winding up visiting a courtroom.



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