Facebook, the social networking site, which connects old friends and allows users to make new ones online, is being blamed for an increasing number of divorces.
The explosion in the popularity of websites such as Facebook and mobile chat platforms such as Mxit is tempting to people to cheat on their partners.
Suspicious spouses have also used Facebook to find evidence of flirting and even affairs which ultimately have led to divorce.
A law firm, which specialises in divorce in the UK, claimed almost one in five petitions they processed cited Facebook.
Also at South Africa's largest online Divorce Service eDivorce staff reported that more and more clients report that the reasons for divorce are that they had found out things about their partners on Facebook and other social network sites. More and more Particulars of Claim's contain references to Facebook and other social networking sites.
One of the most common reasons seem to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to.
Also, flirty emails and other messages found on Facebook pages are increasingly being mentioned as evidence of unreasonable behaviour that leads to the breakdown of marriages.
Computer firms have also cashed in by developing software allowing suspicious spouses to electronically spy on someone's online activities.
One 35-year-old woman even discovered her husband was divorcing her via Facebook.
Conference organiser Emma Brady was distraught to read that her marriage was over when he updated his status on the site to read: "Neil Brady has ended his marriage to Emma Brady."
Last year a 28-year-old woman in the USA ended her marriage after discovering her husband had been having a virtual affair with someone in cyberspace he had never met.
Amy Taylor 28, split from David Pollard after discovering he was sleeping with an escort in the game Second Life, a virtual world where people reinvent themselves.
Around 2.4 million South Africans are believed to regularly use the social networking site Facebook and about 14 million use Mxit to communicate with old friends or make new ones.
About the author:
Bertus Preller is a director and co-founder of Divorce Attorney (DA). He was admitted as an Attorney of the High Court in 1989. Prior to co-founding DA, Bertus was Managing Director and co-founder of Van Wyk & Preller Attorneys in Bloemfontein, a director of Honey & Partners Attorneys in Cape Town and founder of technology companies SmartSurv Wireless, DigiWords, CellBook, eSplash and eLaw initiatives such as eDivorce, eWills and eTrust.Bertus was also a past Part Time Commissioner at the CCMA an Arbitrator and Mediator at various Bargaining Councils, an Appeals Authority for the South African Police Services and he acted in a number of high profile matters in all Courts in South Africa. Bertus also negotiated the contracts of rugby players on behalf of the SARFU Rugby unions and more recently advised a number of South African Book Publishers on the Google Book Settlement. Bertus matriculated at Grey College in Bloemfontein and graduated from the University of the Orange Free State in 1988 (cum laude - Criminal Procedure) he articled at Symington & De Kok Attorneys in Bloemfontein. Bertus specializes in Family Law issues, such as, access, adoption, biological fathers' rights, grandparent's rights, divorce (uncontested & contested), divorce mediation, divorcing a missing spouse, same-sex and other non-marital life partnership agreements, parenting plans, maintenance and antenuptial agreements.
Bertus can be contacted via email at: email@example.com