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Can the Court Stop Your Ex-Spouse from Bad Mouthing You?


The desire to talk trash about your ex-spouse, especially while your divorce is still pending, is virtually universal, and in most cases, the freedom of speech clause in the First amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects your right to do so.  In certain cases, though, saying negative things about your ex-spouse can cross the line from the very human act of venting one’s frustration into harassment or libel.  When one spouse continually says harmful things about the other to the couple’s children, the courts frequently issue orders demanding that they stop doing this.  Even if your ex-spouse deserves most of the blame for breaking up your family, it can only reflect negatively on you if you say bad things about your ex in the presence of your children.  If your ex-spouse keeps complaining about you to your children instead of encouraging a stable family relationship, you should seek the help of a South Florida family law attorney.

The Ex-Wife Who Portrayed Her Ex-Husband Negatively in Her Autobiography

Martha Socorras and Mario Moreno divorced in 2002, when their three children were minors.  Less than a year after their divorce became final, the court issued an order requiring the former spouses from harassing each other and making disparaging remarks about each other to third parties, including but not limited to their children and each other’s employers.  Orders like this one are quite common, especially in acrimonious divorces.

In 2009, Martha, who had embarked on a successful career as a preacher devoted to ministering to currently and formerly incarcerated people published an autobiography. In her book, she described the 20-month prison sentence she had served for a fraud conviction, as well as her divorce from Mario.  The book, which Martha promoted with interviews on television and in print media, presented Mario negatively.  Mario filed a motion to hold Martha in civil contempt of court, because she openly disobeyed the court’s order by discussing her divorce from Mario in her tell-all book.  The trial court refused to hold Martha in contempt of court, but Mario appealed the ruling, and the appeals court reversed the trial court’s decision.

The Court Can’t Tell You How to Feel

Being angry with your ex-spouse after a divorce is normal, and the anger can last a long time if you continue to have conflicts about co-parenting your children.  In general, the court should not micromanage your relationship with your children or your professional endeavors, but you must not cross the line into going out of your way to make your ex-spouse miserable.  In a case from Tennessee, a cancer surgeon wanted to move the parties’ child out of state when she took a job in her very specialized professional field at a university hospital.  The ex-husband claimed that she was taking a job so far away just to be vindictive and to make it difficult for him to maintain a close relationship with their child.  The court sided with the mother, as she had never tried to sabotage the co-parenting relationship.  She admitted to still being angry about the divorce, but she had never let her anger get in the way of the child’s best interests.

Contact Us Today for Help

Your feelings belong to you alone, but while your children are minors, you are legally obligated to act in their best interests.  Contact the Boca Raton divorce lawyers at Schwartz | White for help with your case today.




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