Saturday, November 24, 2012

Do you need a Sexting restraining order?

Sexting is a term used to describe the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones.”  According to a study from the University of Texas Medical Branch, over 30% of all people between ages 18 and 25 have exchanged naked pictures. Although this practice is not limited to young people, it is fair to assume that a significant number of young married couples have exchanged naked pictures. Some of these people are bound to get divorced. What will they do with these naked pictures of their spouse in the heat of a highly contested divorce battle?

Some people try to hurt their spouse any way they can. Naked pictures can create a unique opportunity to inflict pain on their partner. Photos can be uploaded to the internet and once they are online it is impossible to remove them. Knowing about the online posting may cause sever emotional distress to the victim of this posting. Children of the spouse may discover the pictures and also have emotional distress. A potential employer may find the pictures with a simple Google search. This may negatively affect the spouse's employment potential.

The harm that can be inflicted can be seen by looking at the many celebrities who have been exposed as their Sexting pictures have made their way to the internet. Perhaps the most famous is Anthony Weiner who resigned as a congressman after his Sexting pictures were distributed. The problems that the celebrities suffer may pale next to the prospect of not finding a job because a vengeful spouse posted pictures on the internet.

If you are getting divorced and your spouse has Sexting pictures then you should consider filing an ex-parte motion to restrain the distribution, posting online, uploading to the internet, transferring, or reproducing any pictures or video of the client in which the client is naked or partially naked. An experienced Massachusetts divorce lawyer can help you get a Sexting restraining order which could protect you from the harm of posting naked pictures online.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Massachusetts has a law protecting animals from domestic abuse

On October 31, 2012, Massachusetts enacted a new law to protect domesticated animals from domestic abuse. In order to obtain an order under this new law, there must also be a protective order for the protection of people. Under this law, the court can order possession and care of a domesticated animal or issue a restraining order to prevent abuse to the animal. This law elevates animals from property to the status of a member of the family. Violation of the order is a criminal act.

I question the need for this new law as I have had cases in which Judges have issued orders to protect animals. When the Judges have issued orders of this nature, nobody questioned if the Court had the power to make the orders. The Judges never hesitated before making protective orders. Nevertheless, the Massachusetts legislature decided that Judges in Massachusetts need an explicit grant of power to protect animals. In my opinion, the only difference this new law makes is that we now have an official form to obtain a restraining order to protect animals. While lawyers may not have needed this new law, now people who assist pro-se litigants in obtaining restraining orders should also understand that animals can and should be protected.