Just a few short years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine that Facebook would be a hot topic New Jersey divorce attorneys would be blogging about. Courts have to keep up with technology, though, and now a divorce court in Connecticut has ordered a couple to swap their Facebook logins and passwords so their lawyers can access information posted on the sites.
The judge ordered the couple to exchange both their Facebook and MySpace login details, as well as to provide their login information for any matchmaking websites used. The judge also warned both spouses against misusing the passwords and against impersonating each other while using the accounts.
The judge's actions followed a request from the husband's divorce attorney for the wife's Facebook passwords. The request was prompted by the fact that the husband had seen incriminating emails on the couple's shared computer and believed the Facebook account would provide additional information relevant to the divorce. Soon after, the request was made, the judge granted the order requiring the password swap.
Both lawyers will now pore through the Facebook accounts of the other party in the divorce proceedings to find information that is relevant to the divorce. The lawyers are specifically looking for evidence about the wife's attitude toward raising her children, which is a central issue in the couple’s custody dispute.
Every New Jersey family lawyer knows that social networking websites provide a wealth of information that can be used during divorce, child custody and other family law proceedings. As this Connecticut case shows, judges are not unwilling to order spouses in divorce proceedings to hand over passwords so lawyers can have unfettered access to the information posted.