Judge assigns alimony, debt after Facebook request is denied

Facebook can be a fun way to keep up with what friends and family are doing. It is a popular social media site in Massachusetts and across the country. A woman recently found out just how widespread its influence was when the judge in her divorce case allegedly used it as a way to determine alimony and debt repayment.

The woman says the judge tried to “friend” her on Facebook. The woman refused the request and had her attorney ask the judge to excuse herself from the case. Not only did the judge remain on the case, she ruled that the woman was responsible for all the debt that had been incurred during her marriage. She also ordered the woman to pay alimony.

The woman filed a formal complaint against the judge, saying she had been punished for ignoring the judge’s friend request. The appellate court ruled in the woman’s favor. It stated that if judges cannot “friend” attorneys, it stands to reason that they should not “friend” the people whose cases they are presiding over. They said it puts those people at a disadvantage, regardless of how they choose to respond.

Divorce requires decisions about many issues that have long-lasting effects like alimony, child support and custody. These are important matters that should be given the consideration they deserve and decided according to Massachusetts law. They are not subjects that should be decided on the basis of Facebook and whether someone has hurt the judge’s feelings by refusing or ignoring a friend request.

Source: wftv.com, 9 Investigates Seminole judge accused of letting Facebook sway her ruling, No author, Jan. 30, 2014

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