Thursday, 11 April 2013

Defamation and Divorce - Two Unhappy Bedfellows

The sad tale of proceedings for defamation at the High Court between Lady Nora Colthurst and her ex-husband’s girlfriend’s daughter is worth commenting on from a divorce perspective. Lady Colthurst and her ex-husband had been married for 22 years but the marriage ended after he started an affair with his current girlfriend.

The comments that were the subject of the recent proceedings were posted in a blog back in 2005. They only came to Lady Colthurst’s attention in 2011. The blog was eventually removed in March 2012. It is reported that Lady Colthurst has accepted undisclosed libel damages and a public apology for the 'distressing' allegations posted online.

It is so tempting for parents when they are divorcing to involve their new partners and sometimes their new partner’s children in their upset. As this case demonstrates, where children or young adults who are used to using social media get involved, it can go too far. No doubt the young lady in this case thought she was helping her mother and her mother’s boyfriend by posting defamatory comments on line, but, as this young lady has discovered, doing so has consequences.

The breakdown of a marriage is a stressful and emotional time and it is important to ask for help if you need it. However, it is important for all divorcing couples to counsel friends and family not to get involved in a way that could aggravate a tense situation.

For more advice on divorce follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce_experts.

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