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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Divorce and Social Media or... When Your Ex Goes Wild on You!

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on May 18, 2016 1:59 PM


Don't get mad, as the saying goes, get even.

That sounds like great personal advice right after a nasty breakup, but it's not always great legal advice.
While you may want to put your ex on blast on social media, putting personal information out there could be illegal.

So what kind of secrets can you reveal on social media, and which might get you into trouble?

Private Facts, Public Forum

Just because you know something about your ex, doesn't mean the whole world should. Part of building a relationship is trusting that you can confide in another person and that they won't go telling everyone on Facebook or Twitter. Beyond a betrayal of trust, you could get sued.

There are many ways to make an invasion of privacy claim, and one of them is public disclosure of private facts. While state law can vary on the subject, there are generally 3 elements to a public disclosure of private facts claim:

The disclosed fact must be a private fact;
There must be a public disclosure of the private fact(s); and
The public disclosure of private facts must be offensive to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities.
Some states may have additional elements, but if you're ripping an ex on social media, just know you could be liable for airing their dirty laundry.

Illegal Revenge

One of the more common and odious forms of online retaliation is revenge porn, or posting explicit photos or video of an ex to pornography websites. Beyond being morally reprehensible, the Federal Trade Commission and some states have begun to outlaw the practice, adding criminal penalties for distributing intimate photographs or video that was intended to be private.

So the last thing you should ever do is post an ex's sexually explicit secrets on social media. If an ex has dished a little too publicly about your private history, you may want to ask an experienced attorney about your options, and keep in mind there may be criminal repercussions to getting even with an ex online.

Related Resources:

 Legal Options For Fighting Back Against Online Harassment (FindLaw Blotter)

 Rules for Social Media Use During Divorce 
(FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)

Unwanted Facebook Photo: Invasion of Privacy?
 (FindLaw's Injured)
- See more at:

Custody and TRO Temporary Restraining Orders

Domestic violence related Restraining Orders are a huge problem, and if you either need to fight one,
or obtain one, be forewarned-- it's very easy to GET a TRO, and defending against them is best
reserved for defense attorneys or at least attorneys who know litigation and not just "settlement."

Very few TRO claims are readily settled--clients are either too upset, too physically harmed, or they
made up facts in order to get back at a spouse. Attorney has seen plenty of vindictive TROs over
the years. Often Judges just rubberstamp them, and issue them for 3 years.

Beware if you need to defend against a DV TRO, because a vindictive spouse is the most
difficult to work with. Knowing that, you will need a lot of help to prevail.
Make sure your attorney can properly defend and fight for you.  If not, you stand to lose quite
a bit, both financially, and emotionally.

If the DV TRO is issued against a party, that party cannot presumptively be the custodial parent.
This means that automatically, unless proven otherwise, you are out of the picture as
custodial parent, even if you already were the custodial parent. This would likely require
 a trial to change that.

The best defense in such a case is to be prepared ahead of time, not after the fact.
Make sure your attorney is not simply focused on settling everything while you lose
out. Much of divorce these days requires the ability to litigate for the client.
Settling does not always work.