Family Law Roundup – October 8, 2012

by Amy K. Butler on October 8, 2012

Spouting off about your divorce, your kids, or your frustrating ex on Facebook and other social media is really satisfying, and a really bad idea, particularly if you’re in the middle of a custody battle.  This article gives a pretty good rundown of the whys.  If you’re in the middle of a high-conflict divorce, you can and should assume that your ex’s attorney can and will locate your social media postings, no matter how good you think your privacy settings are.  Behave accordingly.

It’s also useful to give your attorney your ex’s social media profile.  You should probably not set up a blog about your “Psycho Ex Wife”  (unless, of course, you like train wrecks so much that you’d actually like to be one).

While it may not be over the line for attorneys involved in divorce to keep an eye on the social media and Internet presence of the other party, a husband in Ohio probably crossed the line when he installed hidden cameras in his wife’s home.  Now she is suing him.  If installing cameras in your ex’s home sounds like a good idea to you, you and I need to talk.  Don’t do this.  It’s creepy.

This guy infuriates me: Texas judge whose daughter posted a video on the Internet of a beating at his hands seeks reinstatement. Wherever you fall on corporal punishment, this guy’s credibility in the Court Room is shot.

Here in Vermont – things are happening for some Family Lawyers.  Amber Barber has been named President of the Vermont Bar Association.  In Middlebury, Susan Murray, one of the lawyers involved in Vermont’s Civil Unions case, has been named Vermont’s Lawyer of the Year by the publication Best Lawyers.

For a number of reasons, family structure is changing.  Florida’s Supreme Court heard oral arguments last week on a custody dispute between same-sex former partners. Vermont is ahead of the curve on this issue, recognizing both same-sex marriage, and allowing for second-parent adoption by same-sex partners.  Florida’s legislature, on the other hand, as far as I know, still will not allow foster care placement or adoption of children by gay individuals.  It will be interesting to see how the Courts handle this issue.

In addition to changes to the family as a result of the ongoing civil rights struggle of the LGBTQ community, assisted reproductive technologies bring new questions and issues as well.  The law, however, moves slowly.  These are both interesting areas to watch.

This is an amazing blog.  Divorce is tough, emotionally, under the best of circumstances, and it’s difficult to keep a healthy perspective.  Kristin is rebuilding from literally zero.  Shortly after being assaulted by her now ex-husband, she discovered an overwhelming cache of child pornography in his office, and kept herself and her kids safe for two years while the police put together a case against him.  Her story is both chilling and inspiring.  I keep thinking of the expression “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”

I just realized this is a weird bookend with the first piece on “be careful what you post online.”  Here, I think, is the distinction: In Wanderlust, Kristin is not denigrating, or badmouthing her ex.  She is stating, factually, what she knows.  She appears to have taken time, and thought things through before posting them.  Her voice may very well be the only thing keeping herself and her children safe.


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