In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, there is a high conflict custody case that appears to be branching out into areas of law that, while not often highly publicized, happen with increasing frequency and are decidedly troublesome for parents and United States citizens everywhere.
It’s no secret to many who have been caught up in the buzz-saw that Family Court can too often become, that judges are known to hand down inexplicable rulings that stray far from the matter at hand (child custody and what is truly best for children and families). Every day there are rulings which unnecessarily penalize both children and parents. In this case, a family court judge has ordered a father to shut down a website that caters to many families in a large community who are dealing with a wide array of high conflict divorce and child custody situations.
In a Family Courtroom in Bucks County, PA, Judge Diane E. Gibbons recently ordered a father to take down a website, a blog actually, called: ThePsychoExWife.com. A portion of this site is dedicated to telling a story, based on true events, regarding a very contentious divorce and custody battle with this ex-wife. The purpose of the website was to attract others going through similarly difficult divorce and custody situations in order to help them manage theirs better. The Father, in this case, was ordered to shut it down under threat of incarceration and/or risk losing custody of his children.
The transcript leaves little doubt as to what the expectations of the Judge are in this situation and the consequences for a failure to abide by the order. While we’re certainly no experts on the U.S. Constitution, it seems that the father has a case for a civil rights violation, if not more than one.
As for the farther reaching implications, it’s not lost on us how this could affect families, especially those in need of low-cost or even free help from online resources. At least according to this judge’s ruling, areas of online support could be affected including:
- Online blogging of any kind, not just those discussing personal issues associated with divorce and child custody
- Online support groups and member forums
- Personal Facebook usage
- Personal Twitter usage
- Publishing or speaking, in the judge’s own words, “…on any public media…”
While it is clear that this personal blog has created an unnecessary distraction from the core issues that appear to be evident in this specific case, the rather significant impact of such rulings cannot be overstated. If nothing else, the ruling is overly broad and appears to represent an unlawful prior restraint on the father. On a larger scale, it appears to be a violation of the father’s civil rights which, if left unchallenged, could spread quickly throughout the internet affecting families everywhere. Further, it risks closing a venue that is the source of much needed assistance for people with their own high conflict divorce and child custody issues.
We support this family in their effort to shine a light on such injustices within our country’s family court system. We support this family in having their case looked upon fairly and the issues that are affecting the day-to-day lives of the parents and children involved. It’s clear that this high conflict custody case, as so many do, has dragged on for a great many years. There are some very serious issues which are affecting the children. Those merit the attention of the family court over a blog which tells a story about one family’s experiences within the system based upon real life events, regardless of whether or not anyone likes the manner in which it is told.