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Facebook comment about divorce sparks free speech debate

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2012 | Divorce

The popularity of Facebook is astronomical. When most of us are not using our computers for work, we take our free moments to update our statuses or check in on our friends online. One man in the process of divorce reportedly included a status update that didn’t sit well with his estranged wife or a judge involved with their case.

Lots of people have posted something somewhat disparaging about an ex on Facebook. It’s a way for a people to get something off of their chest and get the support from their friends and family online. The man who posted something about his already high-conflict divorce added more conflict to the situation, moving a judge to require that he post an apology or go to jail.

Does the judge’s order violate the man’s right to free speech? That is what many people are wondering. It is kind of a scary thought. If someone posts something about their ex or divorce, do they have to fear that they could go to jail? The difference in this case is that the wife has a protective order against her husband, which prohibits her ex from subjecting her to “physical and/or mental abuse, harassment, annoyance, or bodily injury.”

Some legal professionals doubt whether the judge’s requirement in this odd case will stand. Whether it stands or not, the man has reportedly already posted an apology for his comment on Facebook, which he is supposed to keep up on his page for 30 days or else face jail for 60 days.

When social media started, who would have thought that it would become a source of drama and evidence for family law purposes? If you are in the process of a divorce or family law dispute, it is wise to be extremely cautious about what you post online. It could come back to hurt you in the end.


USA Today: “Ex-husband gets choice of jail or a Facebook apology,” Kimball Perry, Feb. 23, 2012


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