In a digital world of posts, pokes and photos, many times they're uploaded, clicked and tagged, then forgotten about. However, for an increasing number of folks the next time they see them is in court when their divorce case goes before a judge.
"It's not that Facebook is evil, it's just an avenue, but it's a great way to get evidence," said Jackson attorney Melissa Malouf.
That evidence adds up and Malouf sees it happen. In dealing with divorce cases, Malouf says Facebook can be an attorney's best friend against a client's soon to be ex-spouse. Currently, there's 12 fault grounds for a divorce in Mississippi. With adultery the most common reason, Malouf says Facebook, as well as other social media sites and cell phones are increasingly becoming the cheating vehicles.
"They forget because they get so excited that they're communicating with someone new and it's exciting. I think that they loose discretion when they start posting stuff," said Malouf.
Because of state law, you don't even have to follow through with a physical act or meeting to be served with divorce papers.
"Mississippi is still one of the few states that still recognizes alienation of affection and it's been a great tool in alienation of affection cases also," said Malouf.
Hattiesburg attorney Brandon Brooks agrees and says clients can easily become their own private detective and in many cases, do.
"One of the first questions I ask them is are you on Facebook and then the second one usually is are they on Facebook," said Brooks.
Brooks says the digital evidence that comes with it, can sometimes be all an attorney needs to prove a case.
"It will show up in court and the judges are paying attention to these printouts and things because they want to know who these people are and what they're doing outside of a courtroom," said Brooks.
Brooks says Facebook isn't just showing up in divorce cases. Family legal disputes like child custody claims are seeing more and more Facebook photos and posts become evidence for an unfit partying parent.
"A lot of research I've looked into shows about 80 percent of family law attorneys are using Facebook, looking into Facebook or have stated that it shows up in their cases," said Brooks.
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