Spousal Support After the In re Marriage of Ciprari Decision

Spousal Support After the In re Marriage of Ciprari Decision

Some divorces proceed in a relatively uneventful way. Others like In re Marriage of Ciprari drag on for years, then spend additional time on an appellate court docket. The California Appeals Court decision on spousal support brought up some interesting points.

The Story Behind In re Marriage of Ciprari

Dorothy (DeeDee) and Joseph Ciprari married on September 16, 1995. After almost 15 years of marriage, DeeDee filed for divorce in a case styled In re Marriage of Ciprari. Because of several complex issues, the final divorce was not issued until March 18, 2016.

The trial court awarded only $5,000 per month to DeeDee for spousal support, seemingly overlooking Joseph’s monthly income of $47,000. DeeDee appealed this decision. She also appealed several other decisions made by the trial court, but we will look only at the spousal support issues.

The Appeal Claims Regarding Spousal Support

In her appeal, DeeDee claimed that the trial court erred in considering only the Ciprari’s 2013 tax returns and not the 2014 return. One reason is that the 2014 tax returns were “more reliable indicators of actual 2014 income.”

Two other claims related to Joseph’s rental income and investment returns on divided assets. The appeal claims that the trial judge did not consider this income when ordering permanent spousal support.

Finally, the permanent spousal support award of $5,000 was considered low because of Joseph’s income and the couple’s marital standard of living. The trial judge felt that DeeDee’s claimed expenses were exaggerated but did not explain why he or she believed this or why $5,000 was an appropriate spousal support award.

The California Supreme Court’s Decision

The court rendered its decision on February 6, 2019. The decisions made on spousal support issues are as follows:

  • 2014 Tax Returns. Remanded. The trial court was ordered to consider income shown on the 2014 income tax returns, as well as other factors usually considered when calculating spousal support.
  • Rental Income and Investment Returns. Denied. The appellate court did not overturn the decisions, which were made at the trial judge’s discretion. Also, DeeDee’s appeal failed to provide evidence supporting her claims.
  • Amount of Permanent Spousal Support Award. Reversed and remanded. The trial court is expected to recalculate permanent spousal support considering income, expenses, and marital lifestyle.

Spousal support tends to be a tricky issue in divorces. We encourage you to discuss your case with an experienced California divorce attorney as soon as you begin thinking of dissolving your marriage

Will In re Marriage of Ciprari Affect Your Spousal Support?

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce, legal separation, and annulment. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Southern Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.

Do Children Testify at Divorce Hearings

Do Children Testify at Divorce Hearings?

Children rarely, if ever, ask their parents to split up. Instead, they sometimes just become part of the collateral damage of divorce. Dealing with the court system during a divorce is stressful for everyone, including children. Even parents who try to do what’s best for their kids may wonder if courts will increase the tension by making children testify at divorce hearings. Let’s look at how this problem is handled in California.

Children, Divorce, and California Law

Each divorce is a little different. Sometimes court hearings are needed to address children’s needs related to custody and visitation.

Fortunately, California law does not require children to testify at divorce hearings. Likewise, California law does not expressly prohibit children from speaking in court. Generally, courts consider a child’s participation on a case-by-case basis. Age plays a part in the court’s decision, as set out in California Family Code Section 3042:

  • Children under 14 years of age might address the court if the court determines that it is appropriate and in the child’s best interests.
  • Children over 14 years of age will be allowed to testify unless the court decides testifying is not in the child’s best interests.

If the court decides the child cannot testify in open court, alternative methods include:

  • Allowing the child to participate in a child custody mediation,
  • Appointing a child custody evaluator,
  • Allowing people to present evidence on behalf of the child,
  • Admitting information provided by a child interview center or counselor.

The judge may also allow testimony in a closed courtroom or in the judge’s chambers.

But what happens when the court decides to allow kids to participate in hearings?

Requesting That Children Testify at Divorce Hearings

Sometimes, people close to a child may learn that he or she wants to testify. According to the 2020 California Rules of Court, the following people must let the court know if this happens:

  • The minor child’s counsel
  • Evaluators
  • Investigators
  • Child custody recommending counselors.

Any party to the divorce or any party’s attorney may also let the court know that a child wants to testify. Also, judicial officers may ask whether children want to testify.

How the Courts Handle Children’s Testimony

Just because a court decides to let children testify at divorce hearings does not mean they stop protecting those children. Judges might appoint an attorney to represent the child during the testimony. Courts decide where the testimony will happen – in open court or in the judge’s chambers – and who will be present. In some cases, it is not in the child’s best interests to allow parents to attend. Finally, judges will protect children who testify at divorce hearings from harassment and inappropriate questioning.

You Need Experienced Advice When Children Testify at Divorce Hearings

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are well-versed in divorce and the dissolution of registered domestic partnerships. Judy Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. Please call our offices at 415-293-8314 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys. We assist clients along the Northern to Southern California Coast.

Are California Registered Domestic Partnerships Reserved for Same-Sex Couples

Are California Registered Domestic Partnerships Reserved for Same-Sex Couples?

One day, Luisa received an announcement that her friends, Donnie and Melissa, had decided to register their domestic partnership. As Luisa celebrated with her friends, she was a little puzzled. She and most of her friends thought that California registered domestic partnerships were only for same-sex couples. 

History of California Registered Domestic Partnerships

Until 1999, same-sex couples really did not have the same rights and benefits that opposite-sex couples enjoyed. However, California enacted a law that allowed gay couples to register as a California domestic partnership. Doing so meant that the parties:

“have same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law …”

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2013, same-sex marriages were legal in all 50 states. California began recognizing both same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships. However, registration was limited to same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples where at least one partner was over 62.

Then, in 2019, the California Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003 was amended. Now, California registered domestic partnerships are available to all couples over the age of 18, regardless of sexual orientation.

Qualifying for Registration

California law defines domestic partners as: “two adults who have chosen to share one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring.” However, it takes more than love to qualify for a California registered domestic partnership. There are still legal requirements to meet when registering, including:

  • Neither person is married or part of a current domestic relationship;
  • The parties to the partnership are not related by blood in any way that prevents them from marrying under California law;
  • Both parties are over age 18 (although there are exceptions); and
  • Both parties are capable of consenting to the registered domestic partnership.

Previously, opposite-sex couples were prohibited from being recognized as California registered domestic partnerships. However, the new law allowing them to register took effect on January 1, 2020.

California Registered Domestic Partnerships for Couples

Sometimes couples do not want to go through with a traditional wedding or be considered a married couple. It’s important to consider all the options when choosing a domestic partnership over being married. For example, federal law generally does not recognize domestic partnerships, so taxes and benefits can be challenging.

However, some couples benefit from choosing the registered domestic partnership route. For instance, a widow might lose benefits upon remarriage that are not changed by a domestic partnership.

So, to answer Luisa’s concerns:  Yes, opposite-sex couples can choose to be domestic partners instead of a married couple.

Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys. Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Southern Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.

Courts Consider These Factors When Deciding a Move-Away Case

Courts Consider These Factors When Deciding a Move-Away Case

Child custody arrangements often are delicate. Parents who might have gone through a difficult divorce now find themselves having to cooperate about raising their children. Disputes often arise. One difficult situation is when a custodial parent wants to relocate and take the kids with them. Sometimes the courts have to get involved, so it’s important to understand what factors courts consider when faced with a move-away case.

Details About the Move

In move-away cases, one of the most important factors is the reason the parent wants to relocate. Frivolous reasons for moving are unlikely to be approved. However, moving to be near family or to get a higher-paying job might sway the judge depending on the other factors considered in a move-away case.

The distance also plays a part. There’s a big difference between a parent that wants to move a few hundred miles away and a parent who wants to move across the country. Judges will consider the distance when making their decisions.

Custody-Related Factors

California courts award the following basic types of custody:

  • Legal custody, joint or sole; and
  • Physical custody, joint or sole.

Generally, a parent with sole physical custody has the “presumptive right” to move away. The other parent has to prove that the move will be detrimental to the children.

Courts will review how parents are handling their current custody and visitation before deciding a move-away case. The focus will be on maintaining stability and continuity in the custodial arrangements whenever possible.

Relationships Matter in a Move-Away Case

Another important factor considered when deciding a move-away case involves relationships:

  • Parents’ relationships with each other. Are the parents able to handle the current custody arrangements? More importantly, are they able to set aside their own wishes to put their children’s interests first?
  • The child’s relationship with each parent. Does the child have strong relationships with both parents? In some cases, the court may agree to let one parent move away from a parent who does not show any interest in maintaining relationships with the kids.

Because courts decide custody and visitation cases to support the best interests of the child, judges will consider the kids’ needs.

The Children Themselves

Ages might affect the judge’s decision. A younger child might have more trouble sustaining a relationship with a distant parent than an older child.

Do the children have strong community ties? If they live near close friends and participate in school, church, or extracurricular activities, judges might be reluctant to upend their lives.

Courts also look at whether children have any special health or educational needs. For example, relocating might be detrimental to a child currently undergoing treatment for a serious disease.

Finally, the children might have strong feelings about whether to move or not. Courts might take this into consideration when determining whether to grant a move-away case.

Handling Your Move-Away Case Can Be Exhausting. We Can Help.

The court’s decision generally comes down to one primary, all-important, fundamental principle: Doing what is in the child’s best interests.

Child custody issues are complicated. Please call us at 415-293-8314 to discuss your case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger assist clients with divorce matters in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Diego, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.

Property Division in a California Divorce Is it Always a 50-50 Split

Property Division in a California Divorce: Is it Always a 50-50 Split?

When Grant and Amy divorce, Grant assumed their community property would be a straight 50-50 split. He was unpleasantly surprised to learn that this did not apply in his divorce. Property division in a California divorce can get extremely complicated. It’s critical to hire an experienced divorce attorney and to have a basic understanding of how property division works.

California, a Community Property State

Some states, like California, consider property in a divorce to be:

  • community property,
  • separate property, or
  • quasi-community property.

Most of the property and debts that a couple accumulates during their marriage is considered community property. During the divorce proceeding, community property usually is split between the parties.

However, it is not always easy to determine which category applies. Property might be separate property (owned by one party) going into the marriage, but then community funds are used to maintain it. This can muddy the waters if a couple decides to divorce.

Factors That Affect the 50-50 Split

When splitting property, couples can agree to divide everything in a roughly 50-50 split. Rather than selling property and physically dividing bank accounts, the parties might add up the value and then come up with an agreement that works.

In fact, sometimes spouses will agree to an agreement that is not an even split. Courts generally review agreements before signing a final order ending the marriage.

Adultery, by itself, generally does not affect property division. However, the situation can change if one spouse use community funds to support a new relationship. If proven, the judge might award the innocent spouse more than half of the marital assets as compensation for the cheating spouse’s misuse of marital funds.

Finally, sometimes what appears to be a 50-50 split to the naked eye turns out to be something entirely different. For example, appraisals of real property or collectibles could be wrong or have other issues. Title issues on real property could make it difficult or impossible to sell, leaving you with a piece of worthless real estate. That’s why it is so critical to consult with an attorney who has a deep understanding of property division.

Call to Learn More About Property Division in a California Divorce

Had Grant understood more about property division, perhaps his outcome would have been different. As with all divorce issues, it’s best to talk to a qualified California divorce attorney before getting started.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce, legal separation, and annulment. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We maintain offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.

Women Are Happier Following a Divorce and Other Interesting Divorce Statistics

Women Are Happier Following a Divorce and Other Interesting Divorce Statistics

Everyone knows that divorce is stressful. But being married can be worse. Freeing yourself from a spouse surprisingly can put a smile on the faces of one gender more than the other. Studies show that women are often happier following a divorce. Happier than men or just happier in general? Probably a little of both. Women often find freedom for self-discovery and just being themselves in a post-divorce world. Roughly 61% of women claim to be happier even though they are not looking for a new love interest. Let’s look at some other interesting divorce statistics.

Divorce rates are decreasing.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the divorce rate has dropped dramatically. In 2000, there were about 4.0 divorces per 1,000 people. In 2018, the rate had dropped to 2.9 divorces per 1,000 people. Some speculate this rate may rise in the next year or so due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.

The over-50 crowd divorce statistics are surprising.

Gray divorce is on the rise. Baby boomers are hitting the divorce courts at record rates. In fact, the divorce rate for adults age 50+ has doubled over the past 25 years.

This increase may be caused, in part, because many baby boomers divorced as young adults. Second and higher marriages typically have a greater likelihood of divorce.

However, a surprising number of gray divorces involve people who have been married for at least 30 years. The reasons for divorce vary, but some people find they have drifted apart around retirement age or when the kids become independent.

The reason millennials have a low divorce rate.

This particular age has seen a 24% decline in marriage rates since 1981. Reasons for this low divorce rate include:

  • Fear of marriage because their parents divorced when they were young.
  • Deciding to delay marriage to pursue other interests.
  • Desire to be financially stable before tying the knot.

Obviously, they can’t get divorced if they aren’t getting married.

Who’s more likely to remarry – men or women?

According to most studies, men are more likely to remarry than women. About 65 percent of divorced men compared to roughly 50% of women. Perhaps this statistic is based on our first statistics – that women tend to be happier following a divorce

Divorce Statistics Don’t Tell the Whole Story if You Are the One Getting Divorced.

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are well-versed in divorce and the dissolution of registered domestic partnerships. Judy Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. Please call our offices at 415-293-8314 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Central Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.

Taking Care of Your Financial Future During Divorce

Taking Care of Your Financial Future During Divorce

Some people may find it difficult to imagine a future without their spouse. But if you are getting a divorce, your future is at stake. While you start considering where you will live and which friends will take your side, take a long hard look at your financial future. Will you flourish financially after the divorce is final? That depends on the steps you take before and during your divorce.

Protecting Your Financial Future Before the Divorce

If you are planning to initiate the divorce, you have a little more time to get ready. If you suspect your spouse is planning to make a move, you can avoid being blindsided. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Organize your financial matters. Know what you and your spouse have and where it is located.
  • Gather your records. Get copies of all financial records and try to store them away from home. If your spouse was the person in charge of finances, you might have to quietly search for tax returns, bank statements, and investment account statements. Don’t forget Social Security and retirement accounts.
  • Avoid adding any community debt. Buying a house or any other high ticket items might hurt your financial future if you think you will be leaving soon.
  • Consider applying for a credit card in your name only. It might be difficult to get new credit right after your divorce. However, that’s when you might need it the most.
  • Start a bank account in your own name. You can start depositing money to build up an emergency account.

As you start building your financial future, consider getting a P.O. box to protect your privacy.

We have to mention this: you cannot hide finances from your spouse during your divorce. However, your spouse is not allowed to do that either.

Watch for Financial Disclosures and Shenanigans During Your Divorce

California law requires that both parties to the divorce file full financial disclosures during a divorce proceeding. This information helps the court with property division, spousal support, and child support.

  • Carefully review your spouse’s financial disclosures. Is your spouse honestly declaring income, assets, and debts? Compare your spouse’s claims with your records to look for discrepancies.
  • Is your spouse hiding income or assets? For example, you may see signs that your ex-spouse spending above their income. Unfortunately, hiding income is common. Quietly reviewing your spouse’s social media can help.

Also, this is still a time to keep an eye on your own finances.

  • Watch your spending. Making a budget based on your current finances could help preserve your financial future.
  • Check your credit report. Take action immediately if you see unusual changes. You could be the victim of identity theft, or your spouse could be doing things that will harm your financial future.

It may seem easier to give in to your spouse’s demands instead of sticking up for yourself. But taking just a few precautions with the assistance of your divorce lawyer can help you have a better financial future.

Protecting Your Financial Future Is Possible.

After the divorce is final, make sure you remove your ex-spouse’s name from your financial accounts. Take time to review your current financial situation and make necessary adjustments to your budget.

Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys. Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Central Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.

Smith-Ostler Orders How to Handle an Ex-Spouse’s Bonus Pay

Smith-Ostler Orders: How to Handle an Ex-Spouse’s Bonus Pay

Spousal support and child support are often two of the most contentious issues in a divorce. The person paying support feels the payment is too high. The person receiving support sometimes feels the payment is unfairly low. Calculating support can be challenging. The process becomes more complicated when the payer’s annual income fluctuates for any reason, including bonuses and overtime. In such situations, the judge may sign Smith-Ostler Orders.

California Spousal Support and Child Support

Generally, courts award spousal support to:

“limit any unfair economic impact to a non-wage-earning or lower-wage-earning spouse in a divorce by providing that spouse with an ongoing income.”

Courts consider a number of factors when calculating spousal support, including age, length of the marriage, earning ability, and annual income.

Child support is handled differently. Under California law, both parents are financially responsible for their children. Courts may order one parent to make monthly support payments to the other as a form of being financially responsible. When calculating child support, courts typically consider the amount of time parents spend with their children as well as each parent’s income.

It’s the reliance on annual income that sometimes causes problems. It’s challenging to calculate support when parents earn money from overtime or bonuses that vary from year to year.

Smith vs. Ostler

Victoria Smith and Clyde W. Ostler, Jr., married at age 17. They had four children before divorcing after 21 years of marriage.

At the time of the divorce, Clyde had a high-paying job with a financial institution that included a car allowance, dividends, and an annual bonus. Victoria had worked to put Clyde through college, then became a stay-at-home mom.

As they worked out their marital settlement, Clyde’s income became a point of contention. He wanted the Court to consider only his base salary. Victoria felt his bonus had been an integral part of the family’s annual income.

The family court ordered Clyde to pay spousal support to Victoria and child support for his two minor children. Clyde was also ordered to pay a percentage of his future bonuses to Vicki for herself and child support.

Clyde appealed the bonus part of his support order, but the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s order.

This divorce lends its name to Smith-Ostler Orders currently issued regarding an ex-spouse’s future bonus payments.

Smith-Ostler Orders Are Just One Factor Affecting Your Support.

Courts consider many actors before awarding spousal support and child support.

And support negotiations can get messy.

We strongly recommend that you talk to an experienced California divorce attorney about your divorce. Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys. Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Central Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.

What Is a No-Fault Divorce

What Is a “No-Fault” Divorce?

After years of dealing with her petty jealousy and drinking problems, Paul decided his marriage to Nancy was over. But Nancy still clung to the possibility they might reconcile. Paul wasn’t sure how he could go about extricating himself from their legal ties. He thought he needed a good reason to divorce Nancy, but she had never assaulted him or committed adultery. Then a friend told him that California allows no-fault divorce. After discussing the situation with his family law attorney, Paul was able to see a path to freedom.

California Divorce Fundamentals

If you want to end a marriage or registered domestic partnership, you have three choices:

  • Divorce,
  • Legal separation, or

Some divorces are fairly collaborative. In fact, the process can be fairly simple. One party files the paperwork. The other party responds. Then you hammer out a marital settlement, and if you have children, a parenting plan. A family court judge reviews your paperwork and approves or denies your divorce petition.

Sometimes only one person wants out of the marriage. In this situation, that person files the paperwork for the divorce. If the other party responds to the petition, they go through the same process of working out the marital settlement and parenting plan, if necessary. If the other party does not respond to the divorce petition, the filing party usually is allowed to go through with the divorce anyway.

One common divorce myth is that you have to have a ‘reason’ to end your marriage.

“Grounds” for Divorce

California divorce law does not require the person filing for divorce to prove that the other partner has done anything wrong.

That’s right – you do not have to prove adultery, domestic violence, or any other reason to end your marriage or registered domestic partnership.

At least one spouse or partner just has to claim that “the couple cannot get along.” This situation is also known as “irreconcilable differences.”

Otherwise, the process for getting your divorce is just as we described it above. As simple as it sounds, however, divorces can become complicated very quickly. That’s why it is best to discuss your situation with an experienced California divorce lawyer before moving forward.

Do You Need to Say Yes to a No-Fault Divorce?

Sometimes a divorce is not really anyone’s fault. People drift apart and just no longer want to continue with their marriage. That’s precisely why we have options like no-fault divorce.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce, legal separation, and annulment. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Central Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.

Talking About Your Ex-Spouse on Social Media Understanding the Shak vs. Shak Decision Regarding Non-Disparagement Clauses

Talking About Your Ex-Spouse on Social Media: Understanding the Shak vs. Shak Decision Regarding Non-Disparagement Clauses

Social media platforms offer unprecedented views into other people’s lives. We can share everything from pictures of what we had for lunch to our child’s latest soccer success to our favorite motivational messages. But there are times when it’s not a good idea to communicate through social media. Consider people who are divorced or planning to divorce. Social media can provide them with a multitude of ways to talk badly about a co-parent or former spouse. At times, court orders and divorce agreements have included non-disparagement language that prohibits this kind of language. A court case in Massachusetts may have altered how we deal with parents who write negative information about each other online.

Shak vs. Shak

Ronnie and Masha Shak had only been married about fifteen months when Masha filed for divorce. The child they had together was only a year old at the time. A judge issued a temporary order giving sole custody of the child to Masha. Shortly after that, Masha filed a motion asking for additional temporary orders. Among other things, she asked the judge to “prohibit the father from posting disparaging remarks about her and the ongoing litigation on social media.”

The judge did order both parties to refrain from disparaging each other, especially in the presence of their child. The order also stated that neither of them could post anything regarding the divorce on social media.

Ronnie allegedly made additional negative social media posts. Masha filed a complaint for civil contempt against Ronnie for violating the judge’s temporary order. However, another judge decided that Ronnie was not in contempt because the prior order was unlawful prior restraint of speech.

The case moved through Massachusetts courts, eventually reaching the Massachusetts Supreme Court.

The Court’s Decision

After considering the evidence, law, and case law, the Massachusetts Supreme Court (the “Court”) made its decision. The Court vacated the lower court’s orders on future disparagement. Among other things, the Court stated:

“We recognize that the motion judge put careful thought into his orders in an effort to protect a child caught in the middle of a legal dispute who was unable to advocate for himself. However, because there was no showing of an exceptional circumstance that would justify the imposition of a prior restraint, the nondisparagement orders issued here are unconstitutional.”

One reason the Court made this decision is because the child in question was a toddler and unable to understand what his parents had posted on social media. The Court felt the non-disparagement language was not needed and was, in fact, unconstitutional since the child was not directly harmed.

Also, the Court specifically noted that its order does not affect voluntary non-disparagement agreements.

Non-Disparagement, Social Media, and Your Divorce

Court order or not, it’s still a bad idea to say nasty things about your child’s other parent. Your spouse may not get a judge to order you to stop. However, you may be sued for defamation or have other legal action taken against you. But that’s not the worst part.

When you post something nasty (even if you think it is true) on social media, ask yourself if it’s in your child’s best interests. It’s probably not.

Your social media posts could be seen by family and friends or even go viral. The judge who makes decisions about your divorce will always consider your child’s best interests, even when you do not.

Is There a Place in Your Divorce for Non-Disparagement Action?

When your spouse or co-parent uses disparaging language about you online, contact an attorney immediately. Such actions could show a disregard for a court order and for protecting your child’s best interests.

Please call us at 415-293-8314 to discuss your case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger assist clients with divorce matters. We maintain offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.