Social media and divorce: Study finds correlation, but not causation

Does using Facebook increase your risk of divorce? One study points to a connection, but is careful to note research did not support that using social media actually caused divorce.

A new study, published in the July 2014 edition of Computer in Human Behavior, looked into whether or not there was a connection between divorce and use of social media sites like Facebook. According to the study there is a correlation, but researchers were careful to note that they did not find that use of these sites caused an increased risk of divorce.

The distinction is important and makes more sense once the data is analyzed a bit more closely. Researchers analyzed data by looking at individual states. A state with a 20 percent increase in Facebook users experienced a four percent increase in divorce the following year. However, an article in Time pointed out that the data did not distinguish who was setting up the accounts. As a result, users included in this 20 percent increase statistic could have been baby boomers joining the trend or young adults that just became eligible to start an account, not necessarily married couples. Furthermore, the researchers themselves were careful to note that use of Facebook does not necessarily increase one's risk of divorce. Although some social media users may reach out to reestablish connections with exes that lead to infidelity, others may simply be reaching out for support from their friends.

How social media can impact your divorce

Although the findings from this study may not establish a connection between use of social media and divorce, one thing is certain - information posted on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and similar sites can be used against you in divorce proceedings. Public postings, private messages, pictures and liked pages can all appear as evidence in divorce court. This evidence could be used to establish hidden assets or may be used against a parent in a child custody battle. As a result, it is wise to use these sites with caution. Both you and your future ex are likely watching for any misstep that could be used as an advantage in court. If you chose to continue using social media, it is best to proceed with caution.

Information from social media is just one of many issues that can arise during a divorce proceeding. As a result, those who are going through a divorce are wise to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer. This legal professional will provide guidance on how to navigate the complicated process and help to better ensure your interests are protected.

Keywords: Divorce family law social media