Family Law Social Media Defamation is a hot topic in recent years. So What Can You Do if your Ex-Spouse if Bad-Mouthing You?: In today’s blog, Ana Sadovska explains remedies and damages for internet defamation in family law cases. Our top-rated lawyers are adept and obtaining conduct orders, parenting time or contact reductions, family violence restraining orders, forensic investigations, special costs awards, damages, and other remedies to help victims stop Family Law Social Media Defamation. MacLean Law is an award-winning family law firm that has been repeatedly selected as Vancouver’s top family law firm by Top Choice, a leading family law firm as selected by our peers by Doyle’s Guide, and our founder was named as Top 25 Most Influential Canadian lawyer for 2020 by Canadian Lawyer Magazine. You can see all our other awards at the bottom of this page.
Family Law Social Media Defamation 1 877 602 9900
Separating from your ex-spouse is a trying process, you have to figure out spousal support, child support, who keeps the house, parenting arrangements for the children, how to divide the property, and deciding who gets to stay in the family residence. Some couples have a peaceful and civil separation, but in some cases, one of the spouses goes out of their way to “ruin” the reputation of the other spouse out of spite or whatever the case may be, which makes the already difficult process of separating more emotionally and financially difficult. British Columbia courts do not tolerate one party making Family Law Social Media Defamation statements towards the other in the context of family law litigation.
What Can You Do if your Ex-Spouse if Bad-Mouthing You: Internet Defamation in Family Law Context 1 877 602 9900
If you are the spouse who is considering publishing unsavoury statements about your ex-spouse – stop. If you have a spouse who has attempted to tarnish your reputation online or otherwise, you will need an expert family law firm to assist you legally when one spouse has crossed the line. As illustrated in the British Columbia case-law, there are avenues your lawyer can take to assist you to protect yourself and your children from internet bullying and other forms of Family Law Social Media Defamation.
Defamation, Breach of Privacy, and Damages
In the case of Nesbitt v Neufeld, 2010 BCSC 1605, the parties were involved in a protracted family law litigation. Ms. Neufeld sought damages from Mr. Nesbitt for defamation and breach of privacy by summary trial. Throughout the family law litigation, Mr. Nesbitt released private communications regarding his ex-spouse to third parties and made these communications available to the public. These materials included: faxes, emails, a YouTube video, a website about his ex-spouse calling her “Wicked Wendy”, a Facebook page about Ms. Neufeld, a letter to the Ministry, and a letter to the parties’ doctor. In the “Wicked Wendy” Website, Mr. Nesbitt defamed his ex-spouse by stating things like: “[she] split up two marriages”; was “involved with an Egyptian male prostitute”; allowed her friend to use the parties’ child “to attract men to her internet dating ad; “is paranoid”; “makes up stories” about Mr. Nesbitt; is “mean”, “weird”, and “sneaky”. The Court, at paragraph 71, stated that “the extent of publication does play a role in determining the seriousness of the defamatory conduct in question. In this age of instantaneous broadcast of an innumerable number of people over the Internet, courts have acknowledged the aggravating factor this fact can have in determining whether the conduct is defamatory and if so, what the quantum of an award of damages should be.” The judge awarded an amount of $40,000 in damages for family law social media defamation.
General and Aggravated Damages 1 877 602 9900
In the case of Rook v Halcrow, 2019 BCSC 2253, one of the spouses, after the end of the relationship, posted comments about the other party on Instagram and other websites alleging the other party was a cheater and was spreading STDs. The courts have recognized that the Internet can be used as an exceedingly effective tool to harm reputations. In this case, Ms. Halcrow attempted to evade responsibility for her actions by blaming her friends. The Judge did not accept her evidence and found that she “mounted a campaign against Mr. Rook that was as relentless as it was extensive. The Judge also concluded that she was motivated by malice. In paragraph 29, the Court said the following: “the law of defamation protects a person’s reputation. A defamatory statement will be more injurious to someone with a good reputation … in assessing damages, the court may take into consideration the plaintiff’s reputation, prominence and standing in the community and his or her injured feelings and mental suffering.” The court awarded $175,000 general damages and $25,000 aggravated damages for the internet defamation.
Interlocutory Injunctions in Family Court
In RW v PC, 2015 BCSC 748, James Macdonnell of MacLean Law, successfully applied on behalf of his client for an interim injunction restraining the mother from displaying inflammatory and defamatory material on the Internet. In this case, the mother had posted children’s photographs on the Internet and referred to an abusive marriage and the need to protect herself and the children from the father. In this case, the judge granted an interim injunction indicating that:
- Mother shall not post on the Internet, including but not limited to, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or such other social media, or any otherwise public space, newspaper, magazine … any material, comments, or allegations relating to the Father, legal proceedings between the parties children;
- Mother shall take any steps necessary to have the posting removed immediately;
- Mother shall provide proof within ten days that she has taken any steps necessary to have the posting removed.
Call Us Immediately To Stop Family Law Social Media Defamation
The Courts do not take defamation in the family law context lightly. Unfortunately, the damage to your reputation and your children’s mental health could be irreparable should your ex-spouse decide to undertake a vicious campaign against you. Contact qualified family law defamation lawyers at MacLean Law to assist you if your spouse is making statements that could harm your reputation.