Will your marriage be one of the 30% to end due to your Facebook use?
By Daniel Matthews Updated: June 05, 2018 Categories: Grounds For Divorce
What is it about Facebook that makes it such a social media minefield for divorce? Is it the ability to connect with just about anyone? Facebook isn’t a dating site like Tinder, yet anyone with the impulse to cheat on their spouse can treat it like one. And there’s the problem of trust. If your spouse is suspicious, they’re likely to check your Facebook. If you’re not cheating, you’ll be mad they looked and didn’t trust you. If you are, the evidence is there in plain view.
Have you been in a divorce in which Facebook played a role, or are you going through the wringer right now?
You’re not alone. “I would say 30 to 40 percent of [divorce] cases have some sort of Facebook involvement,” says attorney Howard Iken. His estimate is very close to that of Lake Legal, a UK law firm that conducted a study on the issue and found that 30 percent of divorces involve Facebook. In cases where Facebook is involved, records from the social network inevitably become evidence in court.
Facebook itself is facing more problems as America’s honeymoon phase with the network comes to an end. It’s enough to make some of us divorce ourselves from Facebook.
No matter what stage you’re at in your divorce, there are some important things to keep in mind about Facebook and its somewhat complicated relationship with its users. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Facebook Is Addictive
To analyze what’s going on with Facebook and its contributions to relationship problems, it helps to understand what makes people want to use the social network so much in the first place. The answer is simple: it’s addictive. Co-founder Sean Parker says Facebook uses a “social-validation feedback loop.” In other words, you want to post things that people like, and the more people like what you post, the more you want to post. According to Parker, “It literally changes your relationship with society.”
It can change your relationship with your partner, too. Many Facebook affairs may begin because you or your partner started getting social validation from someone who made themselves emotionally available through news feed posts and direct messages.
Then there’s the matter of that little red dot. Notifications and the red dot that comes with them tell you to check direct messages and responses to status updates. Psychology Today points out that the red dots contribute to obsession and addiction. The red dot stands for urgency. This is part of the feedback loop that makes the network so addictive.
It creates a potential for flirtation with someone else even when you’re in the room with your wife or husband. Responding to the red dot that begs for your attention takes you out of the moment you’re supposed to be sharing with your partner, thereby driving a wedge between you and your relationship.
2. Facebook Posts Are Admissible As Evidence in Divorce Court
When you post on Facebook, even if you specify that you only want to share a post with friends, you’re posting information that can be made available to the public. That’s a big reason why Facebook is a player in 30 percent of divorce proceedings. “The prohibition against using illegally obtained evidence applies primarily, essentially solely, to law enforcement,” says Judge Michael Corriero, cohost of the TV show “Hot Bench.” “It doesn’t apply to another civilian. If you were foolish enough to let other people know your criminality, well that’s too bad.”
3. Facebook’s Algorithm Creates Social “Bubbles”
Social bubbles are one reason why extra-marital affairs start so often on Facebook. They’re called “filter bubbles” and they’re part of what makes the network addictive. The network’s algorithm works to show you what you want to see. Of course you play a role in this by liking, commenting on, and sharing posts from people whose opinions align with yours. By so doing, you’re working with the algorithm to create a bubble in which only posts from certain people appear at the top of your news feed.
This creates a breeding ground rife for cheating – it’s like you’re only going to one bar where you see the same people all the time. As you continue to like someone’s posts, you encourage Facebook to keep showing you their posts. Each you time you open the app, you’re reminded of that person — a state of affairs that can translate into an extra-marital affair.
4. Facebook Is Ethically Compromised
The social network is embroiled in a scandal that has many questioning just how ethical its data-gathering and sharing practices are. The Guardian reports that Cambridge University’s ethics panel found Facebook’s data practices unethical. One panel member said that Facebook “creates the appearance of a cosy and confidential peer group environment, as a means of gulling users into disclosing private information that they then sell to advertisers, but this doesn’t make it right to an ethical researcher to follow their lead.”
Once Facebook sells that data to advertisers, it could fall into the hands of cyber criminals. About 73% of Americans have been victims of cybercrime. Companies don’t necessarily protect your data as they’re using it to advertise to you. Many of them try their best, but oftentimes that’s not good enough.
If someone is having an affair on Facebook, that information is data a company could use to inform ads. That’s a scary and strange thing. What’s more, someone could pursue an affair with an individual who doesn’t exist, because fake profiles are a real problem on Facebook.
Facebook itself may not be the problem more so than human nature. But it turns out the social network easily caters to our darker side. The only thing we can do is learn. In future relationships, it might be best to forget Facebook, or at the very least, limit your usage.
Daniel Matthews is a 35 year-old freelance writer from Boise, ID who specializes in tech, business, and culture. You can find him on Twitter.5 Tips for Co-Parenting For Your Children's Sake
Your children and their welfare should be your most important consideration when developing a co-parenting relationship.
A divorce is a very difficult period of a person's life, and there are often a lot of differences between the two former partners, disagreeing over almost everything that is discussed. By the end of the divorce process, most former lovers would like to never have to deal with their ex-partner ever again, however, if you've had children together, this isn't at all possible. You're going to have to co-parent for their sake.
As parents, you move out of your marriage to each other and into a different, more child-focused role of being co-parents in partnership. Every parent is sure to want the best for their children, and so putting issues to the side for the sake of your children is the very best thing to do.
However, with all of the problems and negativity that your relationship has endured before the end of your marriage and right through the divorce process, an amicable relationship as parents is often difficult to achieve. Remarkably, many parents are able to do exactly what is needed of them by their parents, although it isn't without its struggles.
To help you to do the same whilst managing any issues that could arise, we have created a list of our top tips for co-parenting for your children's sake.
Top Tips for Co-Parenting
Successful co-parenting is very important to the future of your children, as the more stable and supported their life can be, really can lead to a better and brighter future for them.
Remain in Constant Communication - Although your marriage has come to an end and there is no longer a need to discuss personal matters with each other, your parental partnership hasn't and never will come to an end. Although there might still be some bad blood between the two of you, it is essential that you remain in constant communication with each other, discussing your child's behavior, your child's welfare and anything else that may need to be discussed. You should always continue to keep the best interests of your children in mind at all times, and this means that you should never purposely keep things from them.
Display a United Front - You should always look to make important decisions together, as this helps to keep you both in the look and helps you to reach the best decisions for your children. As well as this, if you can attend events, such as parent's evenings, school plays or football matches together; your children and those who matter can be reassured that you are maintaining a relationship that will benefit everybody involved.
Organize Fair Allocations of Time with the Children - Both parents are sure to want to spend as much time with their children as possible, however, the allocation of time spent with the children must be a fair one. Time for holidays, birthdays, Mother's Days, Father's Days and other special occasions should always be organized well in advance of the day.
Set Clear Rules that you both Enforce - It is often the case that one parent is a little relaxed with the rules and don't always enforce them as they should, which can sometimes cause issues between the children and the other parent. Children often wonder, if one parent can be so relaxed why can't the other? To ensure that you keep everything as normal and as secure for your children as possible, you should create a set of rules between the two of you, and both stick to them.
Reassure your Children whenever Possible - A divorce is very hurtful to any couple that has to go through one, but they aren't the only ones that feel the effects. Your children's whole world is rocked by a divorce, and everything that they know is turned completely on its head. You and your former partner should work together to reassure your children, and ensure that they know that the splitting of their parents wasn't their fault in any shape of form.
Are You Ready for a Divorce?
The 7 Questions to Ask If You’re Ready for a Divorce
For divorce to be a collaborative and respectful process, the couple must be prepared to separate their lives on all levels — legally, practically, and emotionally. To do this, each person must face their own divorce dilemma by answering the following 7 questions:
- Were you ever really married? Many people who say they want a divorce still have strong feelings for their partner, but due to an ongoing power struggle in the relationship, there is a lack of intimacy. If this is you, it is best to work on your relationship before deciding to divorce, otherwise your feelings of loss will overwhelm you and you may be worse off after the divorce than you are now.To really be married, a couple must have created a relationship that included an “us.” Many people who are considering divorce never had a marriage that was anything more than two individuals meeting their own needs. They may have raised children and shared a home, but they participated in those activities from a competitive rather than a unified position. If you have not developed a genuine “we” in your relationship, this would be the time to either commit to learning how to do that, or to admit that you have never really had a marriage in the first place.
Personally, I had a very difficult time admitting that my own marriage of fourteen years was in name only, despite years of matrimony. Every few months we would threaten to break up, fighting was a daily ritual, and agreements rarely lasted more than a week. Despite numerous counseling offices we attended, the pattern remained. I had to acknowledge the truth before any real change could occur.
- Are you truly ready for divorce or are you just threatening? Divorce is often threatened, especially in heated marital arguments. People who consistently threaten divorce lose credibility. If the person is not merely threatening, but is genuinely ready for a divorce, they can sustain the following thought in their own mind, “I wish to close a chapter of my life because I am at peace with the fact that there is no more that I can do or give to this relationship.” They will discuss this appropriately with their spouse without any blame.
- Is this a sincere decision based on self awareness or is it an emotionally reactive decision? To be ready to divorce your partner means being able to make a clear, unemotional decision that you can support over time. Divorce means being able to let go of all strong emotional attachments to the other person, the loving ones as well as the hostile and hurtful ones. Emotionally charged decisions do not last, and if acted on, do not resolve the underlying problem. People who divorce out of anger often stay angry even after the divorce is over.
- What is your reason for wanting a divorce? Any agenda other than ending the marriage is an indication that you are not ready to divorce. If you are hoping that through the divorce, the other person will change and start treating you better, or realize how much they have lost, or pay for how much they have hurt you, you are getting a divorce for the wrong reason. Divorce has no power to right wrongs nor change people’s hearts and minds. Divorce can only do one thing: end a marriage. Divorce frees each person to make new attachments to new people.
- Have you resolved your internal conflict over the divorce? Everyone who goes through a divorce is conflicted. People can feel guilty at the same time as they are sure that they want to end the relationship. Or, they can feel betrayed and at the same time recognize that their life will be better once they are out of the relationship. Recognizing the conflict and owning that different parts of you will be struggling with the impact of divorce, at different times, is part of the process of getting ready for divorce.
- Can you handle the unpleasant consequences of divorce? Divorce brings grief because it marks the loss of the “happy family” dream. Hurt, disappointments, loneliness, failure, rejection, and inadequacy can all take hold of the psyche when we are in this extremely vulnerable passage. To be ready for the ups and downs of divorce, it is necessary to have a support system of family and friends who will be there to help you emotionally and practically when needed.One of the hardest consequences of divorce is needing to face the pain of your family and friends. The reality is that divorce affects so many people’s lives. If you are the one choosing the divorce, you will have to hold on to your decision and the end of your marriage in the face of all these people and circumstances. If you are the one who does not want the divorce, but your spouse wants to proceed, you will still need to get ready to accept the consequences of a failed marriage.
Here are some rules of thumb: If you don’t want changes to your finances, lifestyle, or traditions, then you are not ready for divorce; if you cannot accept your children’s sadness and anger, then you are not ready for divorce; if you cannot accept times of insecurity, fear, and the unknown, then you are not ready for divorce; if you are not willing to let go of your spouse mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, then you are not ready for divorce.
- Are you willing to take control of your life in a responsible and mature way? Whether you are the one who wants the divorce, or the one who is having to respond to your spouse wanting the divorce, both situations have one thing in common: the marriage is ending. How people respond to this fact determines the type of divorce and future they will have. They can come from a position of bitterness, revenge, or helplessness, or they can negotiate for their future from a position of strength, understanding, and respect. The attitude you choose will determine the type of divorce you have.
People who prepare themselves by first addressing all eight of these questions are more likely to have a collaborative divorce. By starting the process in this way, they are able to make lasting agreements with each other, resolve their difficulties, and develop parenting plans that both support the children and respects each other’s rights.
From: PsychCentralSupervision and Control of Children
Parents may be morally responsible for supervising and controlling their children. However, parents generally not legally responsible for the acts of their children (Family Code, Section 6600). There are exceptions. For example, parents who encourage their children to break the law may be found guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor (Penal Code, Section 272). Also, parents who know or should have known that their child engages in improper conduct, or who aid or encourage such conduct, may be held liable for their children's acts. There are specific statutes that hold parents liable for certain harm caused by their children. These include:
Injuries from guns: Parents may be required to pay victims up to $60,000 (Civil Code, Section 1714.3).
Willful misconduct: If the child causes injury or death to another, or property damage, the parents are liable for up to $25,000 in damages. (This could apply to the parents of a child who commits an Internet-related crime, such as software piracy.) (Civil Code, Section 1714.1).
Graffiti: Parents may be liable for the costs of removal, repair and/or replacement of property, and for keeping the property free of graffiti for up to one year. (Penal Code, Section 594(c); Government Code, Section 38772(b). If there are repeated graffiti offenses, parents could be liable for up to $50,000 in fines that their children cannot pay. (Penal Code, Section 594(b)(d).
Shoplifting: If a child steals from a store or library, the parents may be responsible for up to $500 plus costs. (Penal Code, Section 490.5)(b))
Truancy fines: Parents may be required to pay a $100 fine for the fourth violation in one year. (Education Code, Section 48264.5(d)(2).
Injuries to another person on school grounds; damage to school property; failure to return borrowed school property: Parents may be liable for up to $10,000, and up to $10,000 for any reward. The school may withhold grades, diplomas or transcripts until these amounts are paid. (Education Code, Section 48904).
Curfew violations: Parents must pay the actual administrative and transportation costs incurred by the police for picking up and returning children to their homes on a second violation (Welfare and Institutions Code, Section 625.5(e)).
California law requires most children between the ages of 6 and 18 to attend school or classes full-time (Education Code, Section 48200). By law, those who are absent without a valid excuse for three or more days during a school year or who are tardy more than 30 minutes without a valid excuse on three occasions in a school year, are truants (Education Code, Section 48260).
What is a valid excuse for an absence?
--A justifiable person reason, including a court appearance, observance of a religious holiday or ceremony, or an absence requested in advance by a parent and approved by the school (Education Code, Section 48205).
--A medical reason, illness, quarantine, medical or dental appointment, or attendance at the funeral of an immediate family member (Education Code, Section 48205).
--Religious training. With written parent consent, pupils may participate in religious obdservances or instruction for up to four days per month under a release-time plan whereby the child shall attend school for at least the minimum school day. Individual school districts have the discretion to allow or prohibit absences for religious training. (Education Code, Section 46014).
Note: Children excused from public school for justifiable reasons must be allowed to make up the work and be given full credit for that work (Education Code, Section 48205(b). Pupils receiving instruction full-time at a private school or through a tutor under a variety of circumstances may be exempt from attending public school (Education Code, Section 48222-32).Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a written legal document that gives another person the right and authority to act on your behalf. (Probate Code, Section 4022). That authority will end if you become incapacitated--unless you have a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney will remain in effect if you ever become incapacitated (Probate Code, Section 4124). This means that if you were suddenly unable to handle your own affairs, someone you trust--your legal agent or attorney in fact could do so for you. Or you might choose to set up a springing power of attorney, which would only become effective at a specified future date or even (such as if you were to become incapacitated (Probate Code, Section 4030). You can authorize your agent to simplly pay your bills (This is usually a safer arrangement than adding someone else's name to your bank account). Or you can empower your agent to handle nearly all of your afffairs. Your agent, however, cannot take anything of yours as a "gift" without your specific written authorization (Probate Code, Section 4128). These powers of attorney all expire when you die. (Civil Code, Section 2357; Probate Code, Section 4152). Make sure that you understand all of the terms before signing a power of attorney. And be absolutely certain that your chosen agent is both capable and trustworthy. Sendiors have lost their life savings to unscrupulous agents--even to agents who are family members.Living Trust
With a living trust, your assets are put into the trust during your lifetime and transferred to your beneficiaries when you die. Most people name themselves as the trustee who manages the assets. This allows you to remain in control of the living trust assets during your lifetime. You can also revoke or change your living trust. One advantage of a living trust is that the assets do not go through probate. And the distribution process often takes less time. (Probate Code, Section 15000 et seq.)Grandparent Visitation Rights
Grandparents may have visitation rights if either parent has died. For example, the child's siblings, aunts and uncles, and grandparents may be granted reasonable visitation if it is, as the judge sees it, in the child's best interests. (Family Code, Section 3102). A grandparent may also be garanted visitation if the child's parents are divorced or legally separated (Family Code, Section 3103). A grandparent may not, however, file a petition for visitation if the child's parents are married unless: the parents are separated, one has disappeared for at least a month, one parent joins in the grandparent's petition or the child is not living with either parent. (Family Code, Section 3104).Reasons Required for Evicting Tenants
If you have a long-term lease, your landlord cannot evict you during the lease term unless you violate one of the lease provisions, such as failing to pay your rent. With a month-to-month lease, your landlord, in general, simply needs to give you 30 days notice or 60 days notice if you have stayed there longer than a year. In that case, the landlord does not have to give you a reason for evicting you. (Civil Code, Section 1946.1). There are, however, exceptions. For example, your landlord cannot evict you in retaliation for filing certain legal complaints. Nor can your landlord discriminate against you based on your age or other personal characteristics. If you live in a mobile home park (Civil Code, Section 798.55), it could be more difficult to evict you. And in most cities with rent control ordinances, your landlord would have to have a "good cause' to evict you. If, however, you fail to pay rent, or you destroy or severely damage the property, use it for unlawful purposes (such as selling drugs), substantially interfere with the rights of other tenants or violate any other provision in the lease agreement, you could receive a written notice to move out in three days.DMV Medical Information Card
A DMV Medical Information card is available through the DMV that can be attached to the back of your driver's license. The fill-in-the-blanks card can be used to identify your blood type, allergies, past or present medical problems, medications and information on how to reach your doctor and a contact person in the event of an emergency (Vehicle Code, Section 12811.1)