My ex used to post all kinds of crazy things about me on social media, from calling me names to making threats of suicide because of what she claimed my family and I did to her. Unfortunately, she is mentally ill.
During the divorce, she was ordered to stop posting on social media and stop making negative comments about me and my family to our kids. She was found in contempt a couple years ago when she went off her medication and started posting again. Before posting, she would friend the kids and their friends, maximizing the embarrassment to the children in the process.
As a result of her conduct, both of our kids have been in therapy for years. Last time, some of her parenting time was taken away so she only sees them one weekend each month.
Recently she has started up again. I told her I was going to file another contempt to further restrict her rights if she cannot behave appropriately. She seems to think I won’t win this time because the order restricting her posts and comments is “unconstitutional.”
Is she right? Was there a change in the law? Is the order no longer valid?
Two weeks ago, the Massachusetts Supreme Court issued a ruling in a case where there was a non-disparagement order. That particular order was declared to be an unconstitutional restriction on the freedom of speech afforded by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It sounds to me like your situation is quite different and distinguishable from the recently reported case.
In that case, the child who the judge was seeking to protect was a toddler. Your children are clearly old enough to have access to social media, as are their friends. Her conduct over the years has created such turmoil for your children that they need therapy. From a legal perspective, the states have an interest in protecting children from being exposed to the disparagement of a parent. Case law says judges can safeguard the physical and psychological well-being of minor children.
The child in the recent case showed no evidence of psychological harm. Your children are different, and they have been down this path before with their mom. It seems they are more vulnerable to a spike in her bad behavior. It is worth filing the complaint for contempt to see if the judge agrees your order is still valid despite the recent ruling. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
But, if I’m wrong and she continues to escalate, you can apply for a harassment prevention order. If her speech is deemed harassment, surely it will not be protected by the First Amendment.