With the advent of e-mail, social media and smartphones, one would think that infidelity is much easier. More people frequent sites such as Backpage.com or Craigslist to find random hookups, explore fantasies or flirt with people they would not normally meet. Married people may also use Facebook to reunite with long-lost flames or see about opportunities with flirty co-workers.
Those who seek other married people for clandestine meetings also use AshleyMadison.com, a cheater’s version of Match.com. Suffice it to say, cheating has evolved from chance run-ins and evolving conversations to affairs that start with a click of a button.
While it may seem easier to start an affair (and keep it under wraps), the “paper trail” of one’s transgressions may also be easier to discover. Many people do not realize that what they put on social media sites is likely to create a permanent record, even though they may close their page, clear their search cache or later delete their online comments. More importantly, they don’t realize that such information is discoverable in a divorce proceeding.
Why is this? There is no right of privacy in public social media forums. As such, this information can be subpoenaed in divorce and custody proceedings. A survey of divorce attorneys conducted by the American Association of Matrimonial Attorneys found that more than 80 percent of divorces involve some type of evidence found on some type of social media site. While Facebook was the undisputed leader, it is likely only a matter of time that other sites like AshleyMadison and Backpage become targets of wide-spread subpoenas.