Legal Pad: Words Matter; Keep your Divorce Off Social Media
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 8:35AM
Editor

By M. J. Goodwin

Today there are reports on the radio and internet about Jessica Aldean, wife of country music artist Jason Aldean, posting comments about their divorce on social media.  The comment attributed to her makes reference to the couple’s children knowing the truth about their break-up.   The alleged adulterous relationship is no secret and I am certain the children, two daughters, do know about it.  But that is not the point.  The point I want to drive home is that social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) is no place for personal information to be posted, particularly about an ongoing divorce case.  

I enjoy Facebook.  It has allowed me to connect with  people who were once a daily part of my life, but whom I have not seen in over thirty years.  It allows me to share pictures of my family and horses with my friends.  It even allows me to share information, like this blog, about my law firm with the general public.  But it is not a place to  put something hurtful about my spouse or anyone else with whom I might have discord.  Why?  Because I am not the only one reading the posts.  

Let’s look at Jessica Aldean’s post, as it is reported, more closely.  This appeared after a photo of Jason Aldean and his new love (the woman he allegedly cheated with) appeared on Instagram with a comment from a fan about how happy the couple looks. 

Had to comment....just sittin back watching God work......They have created there own mess .....lol....funny .....everyone does have an opinion....people still have morals too, but We know the truth....my kids do.....most importantly God does ... this was too funny....happiness isn't made from lies and destruction of innocent people......IDC...I know the whole truth! 20 yrs worth!! “  

This post reflects hurt and bitterness and is better left in private life.  It drags the children into the fray.  And it is in poor taste.  By posting this, Mrs. Aldean makes herself less the victim and more the viper.  But more crucially, she hurts her children.

In my 22 years in Family Court, I have seen many people with children do awful things to each other.  The ones who involved the children in the dispute and told the children how bad the other parent is, invariably were the ultimate losers regardless of the Court’s decision.  Children will love both parents no matter what.  They do not need to be told their other parent is bad.  Children know their parents’ faults.  And they love them anyway.  So while I am sure that the Aldean children are hurt, I am also sure that they still love their father.  Their mother’s public rantings about what he has done will only amplify their pain and draw more attention to their unfortunate situation.

When I am made aware of a client’s inadvisable activity on social media, I advise the client to remove the hurtful post and not to repeat the behavior.  When an opposing party makes such a public comment, I advise my client to print the post out and have it ready for Court.  These statements are admissible in Court and are often very damaging to the party that posted the comment.  No Judge likes to see a litigant publicly disparage their child’s other parent.  

As I have said in many other blogs, think before you speak.  Think before you act.  Put your children first.  Remove the hostile emotion before you address your spouse.   I realize that this is easier said than done and that many people will not be able to resist the temptation of disrespecting their spouse in a public, yet somewhat distanced, forum like Facebook.   Those that fall prey to such temptation will likely need the services of a good Family Law attorney.

M. J. Goodwin has practiced Family Law in Anderson, South Carolina since 1991.  If you need  a divorce lawyer in Anderson, Greenville, Abbeville, Oconee or Pickens County, call 864-375-0909 or contact her atmj@mjgoodwin.com

Article originally appeared on The Anderson Observer (http://andersonobserver.com/).
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