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Post-divorce blog tests limits of free speech

A Pennsylvania man’s blog, which became a way to blow off steam after his divorce, has sparked a debate about free speech, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Anthony Morelli created a website in 2007 where he posted his often unfiltered feelings about his ex-wife. He only used acronyms and no names, but sometimes the descriptions on ThePsychoExWife.com could have been considered rather hurtful.

The site also became a forum for other divorced men struggling with the anger they felt for their exes after their relationships fell apart. However, when Morelli’s ex-wife found out about the website, it threw a wrench into an already brutal child custody battle and spurred a debate about the limits of free speech online.

After being ordered to take down the site and to refrain from mentioning his ex-wife or children online or through any other form of public media, Morelli was back in court arguing his rights.

Robert Richards, founder of the Pennsylvania Center for the First Amendment, said that the law is designed to protect speech, even if most people find it offensive.

A visit to Morelli’s site’s URL redirects visitors to SaveThePsychoExWife.com, where he is publicly documenting his fight for free speech.

Facebook increases divorce rate among adults

That “poke” may not be as innocent as you think.

Recent studies suggest that the prominence of social networking websites may be leading to a higher rate of divorce among Americans aged 50 or over. Experts believe that adults approaching retirement age may have been unprepared for a technological revolution that allows them to reconnect with long-lost friends or lovers, according to Bloomberg.

Divorce lawyers have confirmed the trend. In a study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 81 percent of surveyed divorce attorneys said the number of cases they have involving social networking sites has increased over the last five years. Facebook was the main culprit, with 66 percent of lawyers saying the popular website was the main source of online divorce evidence among their clients.

Nancy Kalish, a professor of psychology at California State University, Sacramento, told Bloomberg that social network websites may lead to an “accidental affair,” a term she said refers to individuals who don’t initially set out to have a physical or emotional relationship outside of their marriage. In addition, Kalish stressed that some of these people would not have strayed if the Internet had not made it possible to easily connect with others.

“They still bear responsibility for the affairs, of course; no one made them write, call or meet in a hotel room,” Kalish said. “But these are probably people who would not have cheated years ago, even with a lost love.”

About 3.4 out of every 1,000 U.S. marriages end in divorce, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nevada had the highest divorce rate in the nation in 2009, followed by Arkansas, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The Dangers Of Using Facebook During Divorce

Divorce lawyers nationwide are heeding the advice of Cordell & Cordell attorneys and warning clients to stay off Facebook and other social media when going through a divorce, according to the St. Charles Suburban Journal.

The paper interviewed Cordell & Cordell co-founder Joseph Cordell about one of “The 10 Stupidest Mistakes Men Make When Facing Divorce“: revealing too much on the Internet.

“Our average person could not afford to hire a private detective to run around willy-nilly in the hope that over several days he might stumble upon something,” Cordell told the paper. “Now you have a relatively low-paid clerk who is a crack user of the Internet. They can go in and find things that even the lawyers can’t find.”

Cordell said one of the first things Cordell & Cordell lawyers want to know from their clients is how they and their soon-to-be-ex use the Internet.

Cordell gave examples of the dangers of posting damaging information online:

A wife posts online that since her ex, named Sam, has been ordered to continue to pay the mortgage and utilities she’s opened the windows and run the air conditioning during the summer.

“She wrote that she was paying for it with her ‘Sam’s card,'” he said.

Another woman who swears in court she doesn’t drink posts a photo of herself with a child in one arm and a bottle of Jose Cuervo in the other.

Judges are not pleased when this information is brought to light, and family law judges have far-reaching latitude in the information they review, Cordell & Cordell attorney Kristin Zurek said.

Cordell also warned about those who try to trick their spouses by setting up fake profiles to glean insider information.

“If you think that in family court the end justifies the means, you’re wrong,” Cordell says. “Judges, quite frankly, are interested in the means.”

Read more: No need for a private eye; divorce combatants post damaging info themselves

Facebook Status Alters Custody Agreement

St. Petersburg Times — One law firm has had enough.

Back in the dark ages, like 2005, lawyers had to spend money, time and effort to glean juicy morsels for their cases. A basic custody battle could mean a maze of private investigators, subpoenas and conversations with neighbors.

Now it’s like this: Open browser. Click. Gasp. Print.

“Clients who have participated in social media have become much more vulnerable,” said Joseph Cordell, partner in national law firm Cordell & Cordell. “You have access to inner thoughts and frank conversations that in the past were virtually unheard of.”

GPS tracking features on Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare help when people take their children on the run, said Cordell, whose firm has an office in Tampa. One client’s ex-wife had moved her children to eight different locations, he said.

But pictures are the biggest tell. One woman showed up online snorting cocaine off of a key, he said. Another held a bottle of Grey Goose vodka in one hand and a baby in the other.

During one custody battle, a mother posted photos of her children. A friend commented.

The children don’t look much like him.

The mother replied.

That’s because they’re not his.

Read more: Facebook flubs make for salacious divorce case.

Spying On Your Ex In Divorce

In his latest AskMen.com article, Cordell & Cordell Principal Partner Joseph Cordell does the cost / benefit analysis of spying on your soon-to-be-ex.  What should you do, for instance, if you’re pretty sure she’s cheating?

When In A Divorce, Child Support Or Marital Maintenance Case Is It Okay To Spy?

Can you record phone calls? Are you allowed to get into her email account? How about printing out Facebook updates, profile information or photos? With so many ways to snoop from bank statements, to GPS records, to hidden cameras, it’s no wonder we have the urge to satisfy our suspicious mind’s yearning to find out and begin building a divorce case.

But, cautions the CEO of the world’s largest divorce firm serving men, you might be doing yourself and your case more harm than good. Read the divorce article to find out more about the wide range of surveillance laws that vary from state to state, the potential risks and rewards associated with snooping, and the ways to protect yourself from others who might want to know more about your private life.