'It’s complicated’: Facebook status sees Indian couple in divorce court

AFP Photo / Manjunath Kiran
An Indian marriage has apparently crumbled, with the new bride citing that her husband had neglected to list “married” as his relationship status on Facebook.

­The wife filed for divorce after being married two months as a result of an arranged marriage.

“He was so busy post marriage with family and his furniture business that he really had no time to check his FB or change his status,” said the High Court advocate P. Subhash in relaying the husband’s side to Indian newspaper The Deccan Chronicle.

The husband offered to change the status or de-activate the account in order to reconcile. The wife refused on the basis that her husband could have been doing things behind her back and she could not trust him.

Facebook and social media trends in the last decade have revolutionized the way people relate with their peers. New verbs such as “friend” and “defriend” were added to the English lexicon.  The answer to the question, “Are you Facebook official?” authenticates or invalidates a relationship.

Linda Lea Vicken, an attorney from South Dakota, has noticed a rise of information from Facebook being used in divorce trials.

"This sort of evidence has gone from nothing to a large percentage of my cases coming in," she informed the Associated Press. 

“Facebook holds the distinction of being the unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence with 66 per cent citing it as the primary source,” according to a 2010 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. As a result, they warn those going through a divorce trial to stay off social network sites to avoid this.

In the case of the Indian couple, the judge has given an order for the couple to undergo six months of counseling before moving forward in the proceedings.

“They just want to make insignificant issues culminate into something serious and drag the spouse to court. The sole issue of not changing one’s marital status in social networking sites can’t be accepted as grounds for divorce. The court will try to bring the parties together,” said family court lawyer Anita Salabh Jain to The Deccan Chronicle regarding cases of this type.