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Orange County Divorce Blog

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Restraining Orders and The Right to Free Speech

Generally, any prior restrictions on the right to free speech must be narrowly tailored to meet the need for the prior restraint. This was the issue of the restraining order issued in Molinaro v. Molinaro which prohibited the restrained party’s right to post anything about the parties’ divorce on Facebook.

The wife in Molinaro filed an application for a domestic violence restraining order. Her allegations of abuse consisted of being restrained from leaving the home on several occasions, her husband’s threat of throwing a chair through the bedroom window, and her husband’s disparaging postings on Facebook about her and the divorce.

The family law judge entered a three-year restraining order prohibiting the husband from contacting his wife and kids and also from posting any disparaging remarks about his wife on Facebook. The husband appealed several aspects of the domestic violence restraining order including whether or not the judge could restrain him from posting anything about the divorce on Facebook.

The appellate court upheld the restraining order except for what it considered a prior restraint on free speech. It held that the order prohibiting the husband from posting comments about the divorce on Facebook was overbroad, because it infringed upon the husband’s right to free speech. The appellate court stated that although some prior restraints on free speech are permissible, orders enjoining the right to speak on a particular topic are disfavored and presumptively invalid.

If you need legal advice and are looking for a family law lawyer in Orange County to address a domestic violence restraining order or any divorce matter such as legal separation, annulment, child support, custody, spousal support and/or property division, please consider Treviño Law in your divorce attorney search. We are located in Laguna Hills right off Lake Forest exit to both the 405 and 5 freeway.

Although the posting of this information can be considered free legal advice for a divorce in Orange County, it does not address other factors which may play a significant role in a particular dissolution. Circumstances in your divorce may alter the results in your dissolution.

Please note that this legal advice does not establish a family law attorney-client relationship. This is a legal advertisement for Treviño Law, Inc.