Shak v. Shak, ____ Mass. _____, SJC-12748 (2020).
Nondisparagement clauses are ubiquitous in custody agreements and orders. Generally, they are a blanket prohibition on a parent from “talking bad” about the other parent in a form that the minor child(ren) will understand (whether in their presence or on social media, etc.). These clauses are commonly included so that the child will grow up in a less tumultuous environment, free from psychological harm that stems from hurtful exchanges of words. In fact, our own courts have guidelines that are commonly incorporated into custody orders. However, the Massachusetts Supreme Court recently reviewed these clauses under a constitutional lens, and the result is quite interesting. Continue reading →