One court found you cannot force an ex to stop talking about you. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

You know how your mom always says if you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all? Well, it’s that “at all” part that one ex-husband had a problem with. A divorced Indiana couple had such a contentious relationship the trial court issued an order prohibiting them from disparaging each other in the presence of their child, friends, family members, doctors, teachers, employers, or anyone. 

But the husband appealed, saying that was a violation of his right to free speech—and the appeals court said he was right. That’s because the Constitution says a court can’t prohibit speech before it happens—that’s called a prior restraint. As a result, the appeals court said that it was ok for the trial court to prohibit them from disparaging each other in front of their child, but said that the trial court made a mistake by saying they couldn’t say bad things in front of anyone else. So now if they want to say something not nice, they have the right to call their mothers.

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