“FRAPED!” – Is it a grounds for divorce?

“Fraped”. Adj. the act of posting on someone else’s ‘Facebook’ page, often as a result of leaving your profile open or poor password protection

It’s been going on for ever. Childhood sweethearts reunited after many years apart rekindle an old relationship and cause pain and upset to their current partners, possibly leading to a separation or divorce. In the late 1990’s this issue became more prevalent in divorce cases with the advent of early social networking sites such as “Friends Reunited”. Dwarfed now by Twitter and Facebook, the involvement of social networking has been cited increasingly in divorce cases. Some recent surveys in US and UK show that Facebook is now referred to in some way in between a quarter and a third of cases.

Keep it private

It isn’t always old flames that cause problems on Facebook. Flirting with new friends and strangers on your laptop or handheld can cause ructions in relationships especially if your activity is not as private as you thought it might be. Failing to log out of your profile leaves it open for snooping and for others to post on your behalf. Known as “fraping”, this activity can be innocent and fun or dangerous and offensive.  Many examples of exposing the misdemeanours of others exist online. These are normally easy to spot but beware the imposter who can easily post on your behalf.

The exposure of a partners fling or unreasonable behaviour – proper grounds for divorce – are increasingly taking place online. This practice is also rife on twitter where revelations involving celebrities activities have been the subject of debate for some time.

But my password is safe, isn’t it?

Taking good care of protecting your profile is one thing. But how safe is the information that you store? A judge in America recently ordered that a divorcing couple hand over their facebook passwords to each other’s lawyers as it was believed that the profiles contained information that was essential to the case. The injunction included an obligation on the spouses not to post on their former partners page. Despite contravening facebook’s own privacy policy, this sets an interesting precedent adding a whole new dimension to evidence gathering in divorce cases.

Don’t want to get caught. Don’t do it!

Controlling the flow of information is almost impossible in the instant messaging, micro blogging, always connected world that we now inhabit. The only way to stop your facebook page from being used against you in a divorce court is not to do it in the first place. If you don’t want to get caught with your trousers down don’t post it on your facebook page.

If you’re going to share any information on your facebook page, please do share this!