Millions of people use social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter to stay connected with friends and keep up on current events. However, when it comes to family law matters, social networking is not always your friend.
Recently it was reported that an Indiana woman created a fake Facebook account to gather dirt on her husband to be used in a child custody proceeding involving the couple's children. The woman and a friend posed as a 17-year-old girl and "friended" the woman's ex-spouse.
Things got serious when the ex-husband began asking the 17-year-old to find a "gangbanger" at her school to kill his ex-wife for a sum of money. The ex-husband also said that he had installed a GPS system on his ex-wife's car so that he could know her whereabouts at all times. The ex-husband said he planned to leave town with the kids while the murder happened so that it couldn't be pinned on him.
The ex-wife immediately took the Facebook communications to police and based on the evidence, the ex-husband was arrested. However, six days later the husband was released from jail when he proved that he had known that the 17-year-old was his ex-wife or someone affiliated with her all along.
The ex-husband supplied police with a notarized affidavit he wrote just after meeting the "17-year-old" online, saying that "from the start of the friend request, I was under suspicion that it was not a real person, but my ex-wife or someone she knows."
The affidavit continued on saying that nothing in the Facebook communications should be taken as true and that he had no plans to harm his ex-wife or leave town with the kids.
"I am lying to this person in extent to gain positive proof that it is indeed my ex-wife trying to again tamper in my life," he wrote.
Ultimately, this story is a good example of how spying and other deceit on social networking websites can weave a tangled web. It is also a good reminder to use care and good judgment when using social networking websites while going through a divorce or other family law proceeding.
Source: The Tech Herald, "Fake Facebook profile leads to courtroom divorce drama," Steve Ragan, 6/13/2011.