Social Cheating: The Increasing Influence of Social Media on Divorces

Rowena Kang Website content coordinator, Houston Divorce

Posted on December 24th 2012

Social Cheating: The Increasing Influence of Social Media on Divorces

The Internet has brought about many changes to modern society. Social sites have been very beneficial to society in many ways. We have heard the news stories about people being rescued from dangerous situations because of pleas for help via a social site. We have heard about medical breakthroughs coming from onlne brainstorming that would never have been possible 10 years ago.  We have watched social media give rise to political revolutions and the overthrowing of oppressive governments. What you may not realize though is that these amazing advancements come at a price.

Social Media is Allowing People to Reconnect, Sometimes in Ways Damaging to Their Marriage
People now have an easy way to communicate with family and friends. They also have found a new way to connect with old flames or “casually” meet someone new. Many people use these sites simply to “window shop” or flirt, not believing that it will lead to something more intimate.
Divorce rates have increased by nearly 20 percent over the last ten years due to social web site use. People, male and female, find these sites as a great way to search for long lost loves, or to browse. Sadly, many of these people believe that this casual browsing and contact is not cheating because it is done on the Internet.
It's Not Necessarily Harmless Just Because it is Online

The truth is, many of these casual affairs lead to something stronger, and when the spouse finds out about the relationship, the result is often divorce. A spouse does not view social interactions on a website as casual friendship; they view it as a breach of trust.

Recent data released by the American Association of Trial Lawyers shows that 81 percent of all divorce cases in the last year used some form of evidence from a social media site when presenting their case.

Be Careful What You Post About Your Spouse
Another issue involving social media and divorces is when one spouse angrily posts about the other. This is becoming more prevalent as spouses use these sites to vent their anger. Cheating may not even be involved. The ATLA report cited above shows that 27 percent of divorces involve spouses saying hurtful and damaging things about each other on their personal social pages. The fact that personal disagreements are posted “for the world to see” has been the root of many divorces. 

Overall, the increase in divorce rates from the use of social media has been significant enough that many different social agencies have taken notice. Counselors are training in how to help couples that have been affected by social media affairs and attorneys are being taught how to present this type of evidence in court. At this time, it is believed that this will be an upward trend, at least for the next decade.

Rowena Kang

Website content coordinator, Houston Divorce

About the Author

Rowena Kang is a writer and the Director of Content for the Morgan Law Firm, Houston Divorce Lawyer firm.  Please visit the Morgan Law Firm Blog for additional content.

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Kent Ong
Posted on December 27th 2012 at 12:25PM

I have a friend (a woman) divorced with her husband because of Facebook. We can't blame social media actually, without trust in marriage, even without social media, sooner or later, they would divorce as well. It is about humans, not machine.