Life has become stranger than fiction in 2018, and love is no different. Just like there is an influx of new ways people are coming together, like a dating app that matches couples based on their DNA, there’s a new list of reasons why couples are falling apart.
You might think intense politics, a dependency on technology, and investments into virtual currency are the main things couples are fighting over when they enter the divorce part of their relationship, but lawyers say the fights they see are more complicated and weirder than ever.
1. Frozen Embryos
With more and more people waiting until later in life to pop out a kid, or two, a lot of people are turning to assisted reproduction. Though the question becomes, what happens to those embryos when there is a divorce?
“Frozen embryos are considered personal property under the law, and belong to both parents,” says Rebecca Wade, family and criminal defense attorney at Wade, Grimes, Friedman, Meinken & Leischner PLLC, in Alexandria, VA. “However, this issue is becoming more common with courts usually taking the position that one spouse cannot compel the other to become a parent against their will.”
2. Netflix Accounts
In the good old days, perhaps a couple would fight over splitting up the contents of a bank account, or two, but nowadays, splitting up “accounts” takes on a whole new meaning, and means of complexity.
“It never ceases to amaze me how frequently couples fight over who gets the cell phone plan or the Netflix account or the Amazon,” says Vicki L. Shemin, J.D., LICSW, ACSW, a clinical social worker family law attorney. “True, when it comes to the Verizon or Comcast account, there may well be a fiscal advantage to getting to remain on the account if there are contracts and/or penalties involved for early termination, but you also get access to your ex’s data. When it comes to the triumvirate of Comcast, Amazon and Netflix, you get to (seemingly innocently) cyberstalk your ex to see what they are buying, how much they are spending and if they are renting porn.”
3. Revenge Porn
Many people are taking nude pictures or filming sex tapes with their partners, but after a divorce, they may be concerned about keeping it private, or fighting to get those photos or videos back.
“Posting intimate photos or videos of your soon-to-be-ex on Facebook or YouTube is more than wrong,” Wade says. “Revenge-seekers be warned: family law courts aren’t taking this lightly. Maliciously posting or selling a video or photo that shows the person totally nude can result in criminal charges.”
4. The Nanny
For couples in 2018, having a nanny or babysitter is essential, especially if both parents work outside of the home. But when the couple splits up, one of the newest fights is over who gets the nanny.
“The fight over who gets the Nanny becomes front-and-center in an ongoing battle as couples take the long-view as to who will need this ongoing childcare support in the dual households,” Shermin says. “While to the rational mind sharing the Nanny makes the most sense because it is what is best for the kids – consistency and predictability are more important than ever now – neither spouse wants to share the Nanny as s/he will be privy to all kinds of private information.”
5. What They See on Facebook
With access to too much information, via social media platforms, and especially on Facebook, people can now see what their ex, or future ex, is up to, and that drama can make their divorce even more complicated.
“One Mother was heartbroken and enraged when she saw on Facebook that the Dad had taken their one-year-old son for a haircut,” Shermin says. “speaking of Facebook, long after the ink on the divorce decree has dried, couples now have the opportunity to shame and embarrass one another for years to come with their inappropriate use of social media. After the divorce, one Mother called me to get the Father to “cease and desist” from posting Facebook and Instagram photos of their five-year-old daughter naked in the bath and wearing topless bathing suits.”