A divorce is indisputably a difficult time.
It's a rare situation that both parties are in mutual agreement on every point, and there are no issues of contention.
But Birmingham divorce lawyers want to caution you about how you express that very understandable frustration. This includes posts to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, as well as e-mail and text messages. Not only might it reflect poorly on yourself, as is the case for the high-profile split between model Heidi Klum and Singer Seal, there is a possibility it may be used against you in court, and could negatively impact your negotiations on matters of child custody, spousal support or property division. It could also potentially lead to criminal charges, as was the case in U.S. v. Jeffries, decided recently by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
With respect to Seal and Klum's divorce, the two were already engaged in a nasty child custody battle. With her net worth being about three times as much as his, he is also seeking a portion of the earnings she made when they were together.
Recently, he made headlines with his accusations that she was romantically involved with the family bodyguard (although his choice of words was a bit cruder). Some had speculated he was trying to force Klum's hand and push her into a quicker settlement that would favor him.
That hasn't happened, and in fact, that kind of vindictive talk may actually hinder his chances at greater visitation with his children.
In the case of U.S. v. Jeffries, the defendant in this case was charged with a federal crime after penning, performing and posting to YouTube a song in which he expresses his love for his daughter – and his desire to kill the judge if he made the decision to continue to limit his visitation with her.
In the lyrics, he states that he has gone to war and killed a man, and isn't afraid to go to jail to do it again. He says he isn't kidding, and if he has to kill a judge or a lawyer or a woman, he doesn't care, because all that matters is his right to see his daughter. He then smashes his guitar, curses and threatens to shoot the judge if he doesn't "do the right thing" during the court date.
No doubt, the defendant had been frustrated. He had just been granted unsupervised visitation with the girl, but then a re-hearing was set on the matter, for reasons that aren't revealed in the criminal filing. Less than a week before this hearing, he uploads this video, which then makes its way to numerous family, friends, his ex-wife, a local television station – and the judge.
During his criminal trial, the defendant tried to explain that he hadn't meant the so-called threats seriously. However, he was ultimately convicted, a ruling that was upheld upon appeal.
So not only has he lost visitation with his daughter, he now has been sentenced to two years in prison.
Yet, even if the video hadn't been as extreme as it was, it might have still been used against him in court.
Particularly when it comes to decisions regarding the welfare of children, judges want to see parents who are not only financially and emotionally stable, but who are mature and willing to make decisions and compromises based on the bests interests of their children.
Frustration is understandable. But you must be careful how you express it.
If you are contemplating a divorce in Birmingham, contact Birmingham Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.