Modern technology is putting many married couples a mouse click away from divorce proceedings as they are lured by social networking websites linking them to other people or tempted by sexually explicit text-messaging.
But innovation may also be picking up the pieces of broken relationships.
A slew of online programs offer to smooth conflicts about money, child custody and scheduling. E-mail provides written proof of agreements while reducing distortions. And text-messaging helps ex-spouses avoid awkward face-to-face meetings.
Among the latest ideas is an app from a Santa Rosa man that helps bickering couples divide assets. George Moskoff came up with iSplit Divorce after going through his own divorce last year.
The program distills complex negotiations to a kind of video game in which community property is assigned a value and an icon. Users drag and drop the icons across an iPad screen until they achieve an acceptable result.
Most settlements can be done in 30 minutes, Moskoff said.
"It makes the process more efficient and less painful," said the out-of-work contractor.
As websites and modern gadgetry become embedded in the social fabric, so, too, are they emerging as factors in marital unrest.
Widespread access to sites like Facebook and the popularity of things like texting contribute to the divorce rate, which hovers around 50 percent.
In fact, Facebook has become a leading source for divorce evidence, according to a study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. More than 66 percent of attorneys said it was their primary source for incriminating pictures and notes followed by Myspace and Twitter.