This month, Cordell & Cordell CEO/Managing Partner Scott Trout and Litigation Partner Kristin Zurek discuss one of the more troubling aspects of family law: abuse and neglect issues in child custody.
“If you are an evil, vindictive woman who wants to ruin your husband’s life and take your son’s father away from him completely – all you need to do is say that you’re scared of your husband or domestic partner and they’ll take him away!”
Mark Byron wrote this post on his Facebook page in the midst of his divorce. His wife found out about the post, complained to the judge that it was a violation of Mark’s restraining order, and the judge ordered Mark to make daily apologies to his wife on Facebook or face 60 days in jail.
Cordell & Cordell co-founder Joseph Cordell appeared on the “Eddie & Tracy Show” on 700 WLW radio in Cincinnati to discuss how this case illustrates how vulnerable men are to a judge’s liberal interpretation of order of protection statutes.
“This is where the legislature needs to step in and change the language in these statutes so that something more convincing is needed to issue an order of protection other than merely a statement from a party looking to gain an upper hand in the divorce and custody case,” Cordell said. “In family court it’s surprisingly easy to get an order issued that often will last several weeks or months before the accused (usually the guy) can present his side of the story.”
Cordell frequently refers to protective orders as “tactical nuclear weapons” because with a small statement, the man can be forced to stay out of the home, barred from parenting time, and prevented from any contact with his children.
“I’m not picking on women as being inherently more manipulative than guys, but whenever you have a war over the things that are the most important you, such as your kids, it’s understandable that when you give one side of the table a nuclear weapon that side is going to use it,” Cordell said. “These orders give women a clear edge in a custody battle.”
Listen to the full interview with WLW radio in Cincinnati below:
A Cincinnati judge ordered a man to make daily apologies to his estranged wife on Facebook after the man posted about how she keeps him from seeing his children, resulting in “probably the most glaring example I’ve seen in recent times of abuse of orders of protection,” according to Cordell & Cordell co-founder Joseph Cordell.
The judge ruled that Mark Byron violated his restraining order by posting a status update on his Facebook page calling his wife an “evil, vindictive woman.” His wife found out about the post, complained to the judge, and the judge ordered Mark to apologize or face 60 days in jail.
Privacy and free speech advocates have assailed the ruling, but Cordell told Lawyers.com that an overlooked issue at play here is the fact that restraining orders are biased, overused, and too easy to obtain against men.
“Every day in courtrooms across America, orders are being issued with very vague allegations, and nothing remotely approaching actual physical abuse,” Cordell told Lawyers.com. And the consequences are deep. “It literally sinks the man’s ship in terms of primary custody in many states. When you place the stakes this high, mere allegation is enough.”
Since an order of protection is written in a way that is much broader than needed, thus leaving wide discretionary latitude for a judge, the result is something that comes out of this bizarre Facebook case, according to Cordell.
“A guy making a statement to a third party, not suggesting or implying any physical harm, but because a judge sees it as harassment or emotional abuse, the court feels it’s in the parameters of a violation of an order of protection,” Cordell said.
Read the full article: “Judge Orders Divorcing Husband To Apologize on Facebook“