Facebook has revolutionized the way we keep relationships, and the way we divorce. At least it has for Iain Theyers, of Britain. Ian thought he could re-marry until his wife searched Facebook to get a hold of him.
Dual Marriages on Facebook
According to the BBC, Iain married a woman named Louise Martin while apparently still hitched to wife of five years, Marian Belahonia, it is alleged. Ms. Belahonia, who wanted to file for divorce, discovered through Facebook that Ian had re-married.
The couple met when Ms. Belahonia moved to Britain while Mr. Theyers was working at the airport, and married in 2006 at her parent’s home in Peru, while pregnant with his child. Ms. Belahonia returned to Britain and was later granted full UK citizenship in 2013.
After their marriage deteriorated in 2010, she tracked him down on Facebook in an effort to file for a divorce, but then discovered he had already married Louise Martin in 2011.
Social Media Evidence
I’ve written about social media and divorce before. I have also published an article about Facebook evidence and divorce. There are many benefits, but also obstacles, in gathering and using Facebook evidence at trial.
But there is no question, as Ms. Belahonia quickly found out, that Facebook evidence can be very helpful in court. Some other examples of Facebook evidence being used at trial include:
Husband . . . [posts] his single, childless status while seeking primary custody of said nonexistent children.
Mom denies in court that she smokes marijuana but posts partying, pot-smoking photos of herself on Facebook.
Social media can have such a big impact on people’s lives, many clients have started demanding social media clauses in their prenuptial agreements. In fact, prenuptial agreements should include a “social media clause”.
Prenuptial Agreement Clauses
A Social Media Clause could protect against a public relations disaster because your wife liked that cute picture of you passed out on vacation, or prevents your husband from uploading a picture of you in the bathroom because he thought it was funny.
You and your partner could agree not to post, tweet, or otherwise share certain positive, negative, insulting, embarrassing, or flattering images or content. While married, you have control over what gets posted, but after an angry breakup, it could be “anything goes.”
In his defense, Ian has claimed his marriage to Ms. Belahonia in Peru was a sham to enable her to get a UK visa. Remember, the next time you log in, what you do in the digital world could have a very impact in the real world.
The BBC article is here.