Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should

Case in point: a Pennsylvania man embroiled in a bitter child-custody dispute started a blog about his experiences, called The Psycho Ex-Wife.  I think you get the gist of it.

A judge ordered the site shut down, and now he’s appealing this apparent violation of his First Amendment rights.   Pennsylvania Law Monitor agrees that the order to take down the site might be unconstitutional, but its contents can certainly be taken into consideration by the family court judge:

Whether or not the judge’s order violates father’s right to free speech is a separate issue from whether the judge can use the website information and blogs as evidence in the custody case.

Pennsylvania has recently detailed the factors a judge must consider in awarding custody. The relevant factors in this case include:

  • The level of conflict between the parties and the willingness and ability of the parties to cooperate together.
  • The attempts of a parent to turn the child against the other parent
  • Which party is more likely to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and another party.
  • The present and past abuse committed by a party or member of the party’s household.

Additionally, research is conclusive across the board and child custody experts are unanimous: the more animosity displayed between parents, the greater the negative impact on the children.

While the father can proudly, and in all likelihood legally, stand up and champion his First Amendment rights – he does it with a price. While he may win in his appeal, he will lose in  custody and, most importantly, in his relationship with his children.

When a family court judge decides who should have primary care of a child, she will consider each party’s willingness to cooperate with the other parent, avoid denigrating him or her in the presence of the child, and respect the court’s decision.  If one of the parents is savaging the other party and the court online, that makes the judge’s decision a little easier, doesn’t it?

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One thought on “Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should

  1. Parenting orders in doubt after High Court ruling
    Thousands of family court orders could be invalid after a landmark High Court decision, and the federal government has revealed it is drafting urgent legislation to avoid mass confusion among parents.
    In the high-profile case of ”Rosa v Rosa”, a mother had been forced to remain in a Mount Isa caravan park, depressed and relying on welfare payments, after she moved there from Sydney for her husbise you and’s mining career and they separated.
    The High Court found unanimously that the decision was wrong and ordered a fresh hearing in March, saying the Family Court cannot order that children spend equal or substantial and significant time with both parents unless the arrangement is ”reasonably practicable”.
    But the decision means that ”a cloud now hangs” over the status of thousands of parenting and consent orders granted by family courts, which have not addressed the question of ”reasonable practicability”, Patrick Parkinson and Richard Chisholm write in a forthcoming article in the Australian Journal of Family Law.
    The affected orders include not only relocation orders
    but parenting orders and consent orders that parties have entered into using a popular kit provided by the court.

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