My last post explored the phenomenon of one spouse bad-mouthing the other spouse — to friends, neighbors and places of employment. In this post, we’ll address what you can do about it.
There are a wide variety of strategies that can be used to, for lack of a better term, tell your ex to shut up. Specific legal remedies that can be put in place are:
•Confidentiality Clauses/Non-Disclosure Agreements: A party can negotiate confidentiality or privacy clauses. Unfortunately, these Agreements are very difficult to enforce and not worth the paper it’s written on. It makes people feel better to include these clauses, but it’s important not to be delusional about their efficacy.
•Orders of Protection: People do sometimes try to go for the jugular, which in today’s world is bad-mouthing your ex to their employers and coworkers. When that happens, it is a direct cause and reason to go straight for an order of protection to shut the person down. Judges are usually sympathetic to the person who is being harassed, especially since the courts want people employed.
•Litigation: Johnny Depp’s defamation suit against Amber Heard was an outlier in the world of divorce. Most people do not want to litigate for various reasons, most commonly to avoid airing out their laundry for their employer or general network to potentially see — but sometimes bringing a suit is the right solution to the problem at hand.
There’s often trepidation among divorcing people around using all the tools in their arsenal. They worry that doing so will exacerbate the situation. For example, if someone works at a job that requires a security clearance, they may be afraid that something like an order of protection will appear as a black mark and flag them from clearing.
Instead, a lot of people choose the status quo and, essentially, suffer in silence.
It’s important to keep in mind that the courts, as we know, are part of the government. The government is always afraid of people becoming a ward of the state. They want people employed and fully functioning, and they take this idea of playing around with another person’s employability very seriously. The legal system is capable of helping you — if you have good representation and know which cards to play.
Cheryl Stein, Esq.
The Law and Mediation Offices of Cheryl Stein
745 Fifth Avenue, Suite 500
New York, NY 10151
Phone: (646) 884-2324