By Lisa Rimmert
Chapel Hill, NC – After filing for divorce, Kristin Wells and Steve Johnson are each fighting for sole custody of their shared Facebook account. Married for ten years, the recently divorced couple have utilized a mutual account on the popular social media site, and each now claims rightful ownership.
“We created this account when we first got married,” explained Wells. “We thought we would be together forever, and we wanted a very traditional marriage and zero trust.” Upon completing their nuptials, Wells and Johnson (known then as “the Johnsons”) consolidated their belongings and their finances, and deleted their individual Facebook accounts in favor of a shared one.
According to Wells’ attorney, Claire Wilkins, Wells is fighting for full custody of the Facebook account, titled “KristinSteve Johnson.” He said, “My client was the main manager of the account. She posted 85% of the content and 100% of the photos, most of which featured her cat, which she had before she even met Steve. I think we have a pretty solid case.”
“For ten years, I’ve been posting and commenting as ‘KristinSteve Johnson,'” Wells said. “It’s unfair of Steve to ask me to give up that important record of my life, emotions and meals.” According to Wells, she gave a lot of thought to her decision to fight for sole custody. She explained, “I thought about shared custody but I know Steve would just post rude comments about me on the weekends and I would spend all my valuable Facebook time going through and deleting them.”
Wells also admitted to interest in changing the account to include her new boyfriend, Jeremy, whom she met on eHarmony.com. “I have dreams for the future of the account,” she said.
The Federal laws that govern marriage and divorce do not address such social media issues; however, Wilkins hopes this case will set a precedent for future disputes.
Wells’ ex-husband, Steve, declined to be interviewed for this story; although, his new Facebook account features a number of slurs directed toward both Wells and Wilkins.