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Can Facebook ruin your marriage?

You got on Facebook long before you got married. You and your spouse talked on it back when you were in college and you first started dating. You shared your wedding photos on the site, and now you share pictures of your children. It's a great way to stay in touch with other people and let them know how your life -- and your marriage -- is going.

But could it also be ruining your marriage? Could it be the reason your spouse ends up filing for divorce?

The stunning reality

The truth is that some marital experts list Facebook and social media, in general, as a "leading cause of divorce." It really can break up a marriage.

The problem, it seems, is how much time you spend on it and how often you use it. The Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, ran a study that claimed people who went on Facebook in excess of one time every hour had higher odds of running into "Facebook–related conflict with their romantic partners."

Why does it happen?

The reasons why this happens are different in every case, but there are some clear possibilities. For one thing, spending time online means spending less time talking to your spouse or engaging with the children. This can cause those relationships to fall apart and may lead to resentment.

Another theory is that people go on Facebook more than once an hour because they're bored and unhappy with their lives. They're looking for something that interests them, something more than what they have. This could indicate there is an underlying problem with the marriage, and that deeper issue may actually cause the split.

Social media in divorce

Even if Facebook does not lead to your divorce, it may play a role. Some experts note that posts and pictures from the site show up as evidence in divorce cases all the time. In some areas, about 50 percent of divorces mention social media sites.

People often use Facebook as a source of evidence. Maybe your spouse claims that paying child support costs too much, for example. They refuse to pay or ask to pay a tiny amount every month. Then you use Facebook to show that they have plenty of disposable income based on pictures of them on vacation, buying new cars, going out to the club with friends and much more. The site shows that money isn't quite as tight as they claim.

Your rights

If you're on Facebook or other sites, odds are that it will impact your relationship in some fashion. If that means divorce, make sure you know what rights you have and what legal steps to take to end the marriage.

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