London: Social networking website Facebook has been blamed for one-third of divorces across the world, according to a law firm. The social network is increasingly being used as a source of evidence in divorce cases.

The firm said it has seen a 50 percent jump in the number of 'behaviour-based' divorce petitions that contained the word 'Facebook' over the past two years.

At least 33 percent of the 5,000 petitions filed with the firm in the past year mentioned the website.

“Facebook has become the primary method for communicating with friends for many people. People contact ex-partners and the messages start as innocent, but lead to trouble. If someone wants to have an affair or flirt with the opposite sex then it's the easiest place to do it,” said Mark Keenan, managing director of Divorce-Online.

The most common reasons for Facebook causing problems were a spouse finding flirty messages, photos of partners at a party they did not know about or with someone they should not have been with.

Anne-Marie Hutchinson, at Dawson Cornwell Solicitors, said: “If you are keeping things from your partner, Facebook makes it so much easier for them to find out.”

Keenan said he has warned his clients to keep off Facebook while going through divorce proceedings.

“People need to be careful what they put on Facebook as the courts are now seeing a lot more evidence being introduced from people's walls and posts in disputes over finances and children,” he said.

(Agencies)