4 Reasons Not to Disparage Your Spouse During Divorce
Divorce can be an emotional time, especially if you are not the person who initiated it. Some of our clients are tempted to say negative things about their spouse, and even the most careful person can slip up from time to time. Nevertheless, there are several strong reasons to bite your tongue. Our Media divorce attorney looks at four of the most important reasons why staying silent is the best strategy.
Your Children Will Resent You
Your children might overhear something that you say, even to a trusted friend over the phone, and could become angry. Even worse, you might have told them that you still love Mom or Dad when you broke the news that you were divorcing. If they hear you making disparaging comments in private, they might assume you are lying to them.
A Judge Might Hold It Against You
Judges can consider anything relevant when deciding child custody in Pennsylvania. In fact, 23 Pa.C.S. §5328(a)(1) instructs judges to consider which parent is more apt to encourage the children to maintain a relationship with the other parent. This is the very first factor listed in the statute, so you can gather that it is important.
Making negative comments about the other parent sends a signal to the judge that you might try to alienate the children. This is a terrible impression to give and could result in you not obtaining custody.
You Could Be Sued for Defamation
The law of defamation covers untrue statements that harm another person’s reputation. The statements can be spoken or memorialized in writing, but they need to be communicated to a third party. If you lie about your spouse, and other people hear about it, then you could be sued.
Social media makes defamation far too easy. You might slip up and post something on Facebook or Instagram that you shouldn’t. Remember that you can be sued for defamation even if you don’t name your spouse. If other people can put two and two together, you might face a lawsuit. The sensible step is to keep negative comments to yourself—even if they are true.
You Could Prolong the Divorce
One reason why many divorces take so long is that one spouse digs in and refuses to compromise. Making disparaging comments about your soon-to-be ex might inspire them to fight back, and they could refuse to budge on anything, even minor issues like who gets the kitchen utensils. The best way to lower the temperature in a divorce is to remain civil.
We also need to encourage you not to say negative things to a “trusted” friend who you are sure will not tell anyone. Few people keep secrets. Instead, they will tell other people, and soon the grapevine will reach to your spouse, who will find out what you said.
We Can Make Your Divorce Easier
The Media family attorneys at Barbara Flum Stein & Associates have assisted many people in their divorce proceedings. We believe in guiding our clients every step of the way and will fight for your rights. Contact us today to discuss any questions you have about the divorce process.