We live in an age of constant communication and information exchange. People use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms to remain connected to family and friends. We share ideas, photos, opinions, and updates on our day-to-day lives. It is no surprise that those involved in family law disputes may turn to social media to vent and receive support. When, though, does this sharing turn into “oversharing,” and can this type of sharing be restricted by the court?
Courts are quite reluctant to restrict an individual’s right to freely express him or herself. Even if your former spouse is taking every opportunity on social media to trash you or air the details of your divorce proceedings, the family court is unlikely to restrict your former spouse’s right to do so. An important exception to this could be if one or both parents are using social media as a way to undermine the other parent’s relationship with the parties’ children.
For example, if your former spouse makes repeated statements about your exceedingly poor parenting abilities on Facebook and tags your child in the post, the court is unlikely to be particularly sympathetic to your former spouse. A court will want to make sure that a child is protected from the attempts of one or either parent from alienating the child from the other parent. To that end, the judge could enter an order restraining that type of statement.
Another example could be if intentional social media posting is interfering with your employment or business. This could come in the form of your former spouse making disruptive or false posts on your business’s Facebook page, done in an attempt to erode your business or even get you fired. With no legitimate purpose behind these types of posts, a court may be more likely to issue an order restricting your former spouse from making attempts to intentionally disrupt your business or your employment.
Statements that are threatening are usually treated differently by courts. If your former spouse is making overt threats on social media, then this matter should be treated seriously. Statements that your former spouse or partner intends to do physical harm to you or your children should be reported to law enforcement officials. Repeated incidents of this type of behavior may become grounds for a restraining order or even harassment charges.
Social media is everywhere today but can create problems even after a divorce is over. We have experience in helping our clients navigate this complicated issue. Contact our team today at (253) 272-9459 to discuss your case and your options