The First Amendment protects our right to free speech — including our right to say foolish or hurtful things we might later regret. This includes writing posts about your divorce on Facebook, according to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
Massachusetts’ top court ruled on Facebook gag orders
Last year, the court ruled that a probate and family court judge violated a divorcing man’s First Amendment rights when he issued an order forbidding the man from insulting his wife on Facebook. The order was called a nondisparagement order and was common practice in Massachusetts divorce cases, especially when it came to social media.
However, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that such orders were a form of prior restraint and were not justified. The government must have a compelling reason to use prior restraint to restrict a person’s speech. The court ruled that the judge’s reason for issuing the nondisparagement order — protecting the divorcing couple’s children from having to see their father’s insulting statements about their mother — was not compelling enough to overcome the father’s right to post those statements on Facebook.
How to talk about your divorce on social media
So you know that you can write pretty much whatever you want about your ex on your social media accounts. But should you?
Probably not. In fact, you should probably avoid discussing your divorce online until it is final. Remember, your ex and their attorney may be watching everything you post. If you write something insulting, it could make negotiations much more difficult. Other things you post could turn into evidence against you, possibly costing you a share of the marital assets or joint child custody.
Talk to your divorce attorney for more detailed help with finding the line between sharing and oversharing about your divorce online.