Using Facebook Evidence of Adultery

Clients almost always come to their divorce lawyers armed with evidence about their spouse’s infidelity.  Unfortunately, in Massachusetts, infidelity is not nearly as relevant to divorce as clients wish.  Mostly, judges don’t want to hear about it.  Judges might consider it with regard to alimony or property disposition, but even then it’s one of many factors considered.

However, there are a few ways you can sneak evidence of adultery into your divorce.  As a first example, let’s say you’ve found photos on Facebook where your wife is doing something she’s testified in court that she has never done. Perhaps it’s a picture of her with her new boyfriend in Rio de Janeiro, when she said she’s never left the country.  Or it’s a picture of her and the boyfriend at a strip club when she told the court she leads a completely conservative and upstanding life.  You can introduce these pictures to question her credibility before the court.  Ideally, the court will wonder if she is lying about pertinent topics, like her income and care for the children, as well. 

In another scenario, you find photos of your husband on Facebook or Flickr, and he is on a fancy vacation in the Maldives with his girlfriend.  Or it’s a picture of him giving his new girlfriend a Lexus for her birthday.  This evidence could prove that your spouse has been using marital funds on his adultery.   While the adultery itself is minimally relevant, the inappropriate use of marital funds could cause a lot of trouble.

My favorite Facebook story occurred in the state of Washington.  A woman was browsing Facebook, when the website suggested that she friend a woman with her husband’s last name.  She did not recognize the woman as a family member, and curiously friended her.  On closer inspection, the mystery woman’s profile included wedding photos with the original woman’s husband.  He was married to them both!  The original wife moved forward with bigamy charges and a divorce.

If you work with an attorney, you might be able to enter at least some adultery evidence.   

How to Choose a Family Lawyer

In order to end a marriage, it’s often necessary to enter a new relationship, the attorney-client relationship.  Although an attorney-client relationship will be less emotional, shorter, and less significant than your marriage, it is crucial to enter your attorney-client relationship carefully and thoughtfully.

When selecting a family lawyer, you must do your research!  First, research prospective attorneys’ reputations among former clients and among other attorneys.  Ask your friends which divorce attorney they used and how they would evaluate their attorney.  Ask your attorney friends for their opinions on local family lawyers. 

One of the biggest complaints about divorce lawyers is the legal fees.  Before retaining an attorney, ask about their billing structure.  Do they bill hourly or on a flat fee basis?  If hourly, what is their hourly rate?  What types of things can you expect to be billed for?  Will anyone else be assisting with different hourly rates?  Once you retain counsel, it is crucial that you check your bill each month and sort out ambiguities immediately.  If you wait until the case is over, you won’t remember half of your concerns.

Divorce lawyers have different styles.  I, for example, am settlement and mediation oriented, whereas other attorneys are known to be litigation sharks.  Know what you want.  Then find the attorney who has that style.  If you are adamant on trial without attempting settlement, I’m not your lawyer.  If you want to settle your divorce exclusively out of court, there are other attorneys who will not be the right fit for you.

Ask your prospective attorneys about whether they will allow you to discharge them if you feel the attorney-client relationship isn’t working.  Some lawyers work on a limited assistance basis, so it is easy to end the attorney-client relationship.  Other attorneys are committed to resolving divorces from start to end, and don’t like their clients to end representation before the conclusion.  Know what you’re getting into!

Parents Helping Parents

This morning I had the privilege of meeting Randy Block, who is the Executive Director of a statewide organization called Parents Helping Parents.  This organization provides two types of services to caretakers in the Massachusetts area.

Parents Helping Parents provides parent support groups, which meet for one and a half or two hours each week in multiple locations across the state.  The groups are free, confidential, and anonymous.  Parents come to discuss serious parenting problems, abuse/neglect, the removal of children from the home, and other topics related to the challenges of parenting.  A trained facilitator guides each discussion, although the agenda is set by the parents.

Parents Helping Parents also provides an anonymous 24-hour hotline.  Trained volunteer counselors provide support to callers, and help them formulate plans of actions.  When appropriate, the trained counselors provide referrals to community resources and other information. 

If you are a parent experiencing a DCF investigation, a hostile custody dispute, or other general family issues, consider reaching out to Parents Helping Parents for free assistance.