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Facebook, Friend of Divorce Lawyers 494

crimeandpunishment writes "A lot of Facebook users going through divorces have learned a very costly lesson about their privacy settings. In fact, for many of them their Facebook pages helped lead to the divorce in the first place. More than 80% of the members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers say they've used or run into evidence gathered from Facebook and other social networking sites over the last five years — and some of them have some very entertaining stories to tell. 'Facebook is the unrivaled leader for turning virtual reality into real-life divorce drama,' said AAML's president."
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Facebook, Friend of Divorce Lawyers

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  • From the article (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dexter Herbivore ( 1322345 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:12AM (#32728892) Journal
    "Think of Dad forcing son to de-friend mom, bolstering her alienation of affection claim against him."

    WTF? What kind of @sshole is he? Oh, wait... my ex effectively did that with my daughter pre-facebook...

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:35AM (#32729084)

    As a rule though, documenting infidelity anywhere is just plain stupid, whether we're talking a bunch of emails, a compromising video, or a credit card charge at a hotel. Facebook is no different.

    Well unless you have in-person contact with your lover in your day to day life, that can be a little hard -- how else will you arrange meetings and whatnot? The communication will need to happen at some point.

    If I were in such a situation, I would immediately look at steganography. Cryptography is a good first try, but the problem is that it reveals who you were communicating with, which is incriminating in and of itself. Thus, steganography, possibly using some public photo sharing service (ironically, Facebook could serve the purpose here). The messages would have to be short, but that is fine for arranging a meeting or sending a love note.

    Not that I really see myself being in such a situation.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:58AM (#32729332) Homepage Journal

    Well unless you have in-person contact with your lover in your day to day life, that can be a little hard -- how else will you arrange meetings and whatnot? The communication will need to happen at some point.

    Are you fishing for tips or are you wrong on /. ?

    Web-Mail account, registered solely for this purpose. Browser in privacy mode when you access it. You don't need crypto to keep something hidden, you need crypto if you want to keep something secret that you can't hide.

    For the experts, or those with much to lose, there are lots of other options, but unless your spouse is a geek, they're overkill.

    Disclosure: I worked on some of this stuff many years ago. Our target audience were civil rights activists who in many countries likewise need to communicate with at least plausible deniability. A geeky UN-affiliated NGO built systems where the local military police could confiscate their computers and find absolutely nothing incriminating.

  • by insufflate10mg ( 1711356 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:08AM (#32729464)
    If you tried any of that shit with a mistress, I guarantee she would not be your mistress for very long. "Just download this program, configure it, and view this random TinyPic hyperlink if you ever want to be honored by my presence and average-sized penis." What a joke; most mistresses are in it for your attention, and the more they feel they are being hidden, the better chance there is that they will drop you like a used rubber.
  • by Dexter Herbivore ( 1322345 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:09AM (#32729474) Journal
    I'm saying that while you are "separated" and no longer in a sexual relationship with your legal spouse, you can still be accused of cheating in a court of law.
  • by siloko ( 1133863 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:11AM (#32729492)

    As always the issue here is not the type of information (data valuable to divorce lawyers) but the context in which it is gathered (Facebook search unbeknownst to the poster). And once again the usual responses will be - a) Poster is stupid, and b) Facebook is evil.

    I tend to think that so long as you are empowered to share or not to share then all is well. With Facebook this is not the case. My sister shared a reasonably embarrassing photo of me with some mutual friends (some of which I work with) which was then shared with my whole building by whatever networking effect took over - nice!. I was not in control of this. Now you can argue that she could have done this pre-social networking site era - but she couldn't simple because she is not in physical contact with 99.5% of people in my building. Social networking makes ones dis-empowerment that much more pervasive.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:22AM (#32729642)
    That's not really an appropriate counterpoint. Marriage is about being with one person romantically to the exclusion of all others. If you don't like that then you shouldn't be married. Or I suppose move to a part of the world where polygamy is legal. If you think it's expensive to get a divorce without cheating, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find that cheating makes the whole process even uglier than before.

    And yes, people that cheat are always in the wrong here. I don't think that there's a way in which making this sort of massive life long commitment then sneaking around behind the spouses back is not wrong. And people do frequently get caught doing it, and it does tend to lead to costly divorces.
  • by monkeyboythom ( 796957 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:31AM (#32729772)

    But photos and comments are still stored within Facebook servers. Add a photo and let it stay in there a day to let it be cycled into their Facebook servers. Find out the link to the stored image [URL]. Then delete the picture.

    Use the URL to locate your deleted picture. Not deleted, yes?

    Think of it this way instead: once you post something, anything, it never goes away. Never.

  • by cduffy ( 652 ) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @10:11AM (#32730422)

    Marriage is about being with one person romantically to the exclusion of all others.

    Romantically? The belief that marriage is a romance-based commitment is probably the reason most of them fail. Why should one expect a marriage to survive only as long as a particular brand of hormone-based euphoria?

    If you can't live with a person after the blinders are off, you shouldn't have gotten married to them in the first place -- so making that commitment with blinders on (and being "in love" is unquestionably blinding) is the first mistake.

    And yes, people that cheat are always in the wrong here.

    Inasmuch as "cheating" involves breaking a promise, absolutely, every time. I never asked my wife for exclusivity -- and so while she's never broken it, neither would such be a dealbreaker.

  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @10:54AM (#32731086)

    it's a legal agreement between two people which supposedly brings some sort of perceived tax benefit which I have never seen (we pay out far more now that we're married)

    See an accountant. The tax benefit is highest for those in "traditional" marriages, meaning ones in which only one spouse works. Then, if you file a joint return you get twice the deduction you normally would have gotten. The math may also result in less tax even if you both work, depending on how disparate your incomes are. There are also certain deductions that you may qualify for but your spouse doesn't (or vice versa), but if you file a joint return it will apply to both of you (sometimes at twice the amount it would be for just one of you).

    Generally, unless you are a one-income household, the tax benefits to marriage are fairly modest and sometimes nonexistent depending on your individual situation. But then, if you're looking to get married because you want a lower tax bill you may not be in the right frame of mind to get married at all.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @11:09AM (#32731382) Homepage Journal

    Cheating is not about ethics or morals or religion. It's not even about sex. Its about your commitment (or lack thereof) to your spouse,

    So it says that if I put my penis in a vagina that is not attached to my wife, that somehow magically influences my commitment to my wife - but at the same time, it's not about sex?

    Sorry, that is very hard to parse.

    So what exactly is commitment? And how exactly does it get impaired by sleeping with someone else? I'm not trolling. It simply doesn't make sense unless you see a causal connection that is not automatically a given. Imagine the borderline case of a simple one-night-stand during a business trip. Nobody was deprived of time with you, there are no romantic implications, no danger of you leaving your wife or family - and still you'd argue that this affects the commitment? Why? Aside from hurt feelings, can you provide a rational argument?

    And if you are not smart enough to find an acceptable outlet for your biological urges, I would have to say that's pretty stupid.

    You really should follow the hint I posted in the other reply. There are scientists on this planet who have devoted their entire lives to this topic, and I find it a bit difficult to throw their judgement away in favor of a random comment on /.

    The current state of knowledge indicates that humans actually do have a system for cheating built-in. There are good biological reasons (gene diversity) that may have created the selection process for this. But there appears to be more to it than just that. The very common "he couldn't keep his penis in his pants" accusation is almost certainly very short of the truth. It's not a matter of pure sex-drive. Again, I don't feel like summarizing several books. If you're interested, I posted the reference.

  • Re:Oh, come ON! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Guru Meditation ( 12823 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @11:19AM (#32731520)

    Over the years I've had plenty of quotes like that in my profile. Either because they struck me as funny, or just to see how many idiots take it seriously. Asserting any hard, real life 'truths' from online profiles like that is IM(not so)HO just plain stupid.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @12:32PM (#32732536) Homepage Journal

    I'm not into justifying my own behaviour, I talk about that with my partner, not with guys on /.

    But I am seriously interested in the rational argument.

    In my example of the business trip, the actual sex does not hurt anyone. Well, depending on what kind of fetish you're into... err, I disgres.

    What does hurt is telling your wife. But what exactly is it that hurts? That is my question on rational analysis. Also, you can apply game theory and come up with the rational choice being not telling. At least that's what a payoff matrix comes to.

  • by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @12:48PM (#32732784)

    Okay, Vectormatic.

    What if I create a FB page under your name and put up a bunch of partying, boozing, and drugging photos up, with links to groups like "Fuck work -- seriously", "Getting high at work ROCKS!!", and "[My boss' favorite sports team] are a bunch of LOSERS!"

    Good luck with work. You'll never get a chance to explain why it's not you. You simply wouldn't get a call for an interview. You might get everything wrong you do at work slowly documented until they have cause to fire you. "No, it wasn't drug use (since that's a disability and protected, and we'd never do that) but look at these logs. /. 1000 times, he kept taking extra-long breaks, and he was late one time in 2008. We decided to move in a new direction, specifically one without Vectormatic."

    I've been impersonated before. That's why I have a FB profile, so that when someone looks me up online, there's my good information out there. My name is rare enough that a GS brings me up as the first hit.

  • Re:Oh, come ON! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Faerunner ( 1077423 ) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:02PM (#32732984)
    I can't count the number of times I've had this conversation with my fiance. He'll say something dumb/offensive/aggressive online, and mean it to be completely harmless or sarcastic. He jokes all the time; he expects everyone to know this. He doesn't get that everyone interprets things differently (especially in a mostly textual medium like the internet) and that what he thinks is a joke could be taken seriously by a lot of people who will then turn their perception of his words into a perception of him, get pissed off, and think he's a complete asshole.

    This guy clearly wasn't thinking when he put this in his profile. "If you have the balls to get in my face, I'll kick your ass into submission. " is the kind of statement I'd take seriously, especially if I didn't know the guy. Short of sticking several "lol"s and smilies on the end of that statement, it's really hard to NOT make it sound aggressive, and aggression can signal anger management issues. A lot of people take what you say online at face value because they lack other social cues with which to interpret it.

    If you want something you post to be taken as 'not serious', then you better start putting flashing lights and signs around it, or make it so over-the-top in comparison to everything else you present on your profile that most sensible people have no choice but to recognize it as flippant. As much as we are predisposed to ignore the perceptions of those around us in favor of our own, other peoples' perceptions do differ from ours, and one way they differ is that they aren't inside our heads and can't read "I will kick your ass!" in the silly voice with which you intended it to be read. If you don't like it, don't put anything up that you don't want to be taken seriously.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:28PM (#32733414)

    Cheating is not about ethics or morals or religion. It's not even about sex.

    Great. It's good to know that if I fuck someone (hypothetically speaking of course), I'm not doing it for the sex.

    Please, stop talking about commitment like you know what it means. If you ever learned about commitment, you would know that it is an (mostly implicit) agreement about trust and caring between two people. And excuse me for being the eternal moral relativist, but where do you find the arrogance to decide how other people should define (and effectualize) their love and care?

    As for me, I'm not married. It's only a financial construct to us, and we don't see much benefits in it (right now). Our relationship is not defined by sex, it is defined by our mutual understanding, and by the way we plan our future together and assist each other in the present. I've had multiple sex partners during my relationship, and so has she. I still know that we'll grow old together, and as long as she knows the same, we're good.

    I have an acceptable outlet for my urges. It's called sex. Are you telling me that I'm somehow less committed to my lover than people who have only one sex partner in their lives? That I'm less faithful to my "wife" than people who are bound to each other by risk of financial ruin?

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.