The saga of U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner is not only an example of hubris, but it is a powerful example of what not to do on your cell phone. Unfortunately, the phenomenon is not limited to politicians, nor is it limited to the East Coast. Chicago family law attorneys have their own stories of clients who unwittingly provided e-evidence for the other side in divorce or custody cases.
In our last post, we began the discussion of how certain social media channels have been in the news lately - cited as contributing factors to divorce and legal separation. Divorce attorneys are beginning to subpoena and use private communications over Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace in court proceedings to establish patterns of infidelity on behalf of clients who have been cheated on and are seeking for an advantageous divorce settlement. In this post, we continue our coverage of National Public Radio's interview with Marriage Therapist Tara Fritsch.fTherapist Fritsch points out that prior to the advent of social media and texting, it wasn't nearly as easy to begin an affair. You couldn't necessarily call up a co-worker or an old flame out of the blue without fear that the person's spouse or children might answer the phone and start asking questions. Public flirtation at the office was always under close scrutiny of co-workers. Now it's easy to have a completely intimate and detailed conversation over social media channels or via text with someone sitting right across the aisle from you, or even at home while in the same room as your spouse.
The rise in popularity of various forms of social media is sometimes blamed for the destruction of marriages these days. The popularity of sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter are easy targets when determining the catalyst of and assigning blame in a divorce. Also, the advent of texting and smartphones has made it easier than ever to reconnect with an ex. However, marriage counselors will often say that people cause legal separation and divorce, not technology.It happens every day. You get the message: "John Doe wants to be friends on Facebook." Innocent, right? In many cases this is true. Social media can be a great form of entertainment and an efficient means of keeping in touch with friends. Sometimes a simple online friendship turns from innocent to intimate at an accelerated rate. In a recent interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Marriage Therapist Tara Fritsch claims that online relationships can be accelerated two to three times as fast as in-person courting, as the lack of face to face interaction reduces inhibitions and allows people to open up emotionally on a greater level sooner in the relationship.