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#204120 - 03/13/07 02:05 AM Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court?
100kay Offline
journeyman

Registered: 09/22/04
Posts: 61
I'm the one who always bites the bullet and takes the lick to keep my kids from seeing the venom between their parents. Problem is now ex and his spouse have gotten comfortable with throwing rocks and getting away with whenever they feel like it.

Well court day is coming up to modify childsupport (1st modification since it was first set 15 yrs ago) and I got a letter from them that I could really go off about. I am ready to pay these wicked clowns back for 15 yrs of grief and writing is my best mode of expression.

But I'm wondering if what I write is brought out in court, it will cause me to look bad. You know like kids in school. The bully hits the weakling.

The teacher turns around just in time to see the weakling knock the bully's lights out and the weakling gets the punishment.

I have to reply to the letter but my first mind tells me to just stick to the facts and ignore all the crap and innuendos. But I am so angry and tired!!

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#204121 - 03/13/07 02:38 AM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: 100kay]
jil_stevens Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 08/01/06
Posts: 3893
You are right...stick to the facts and ignore the crap. Nasty letters make you look unreasonable and will look bad. Wait until you are not angry or tired and then write the response:)

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#204122 - 03/13/07 02:46 AM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: jil_stevens]
Dee78 Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 11820
Loc: TN
Yeah, never say anything in writing that you'll regret. But feel free to post it here if it makes you feel better to get it all out. Then respond to the facts and leave out the emotion.

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#204123 - 03/13/07 03:34 AM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: Dee78]
100kay Offline
journeyman

Registered: 09/22/04
Posts: 61
Dee & Jil, thanks.... I guess I've always known a cool head is better but this thing has dragged out 4 yrs and my nerves are shot.

3 years ago I sent a letter to a person I 'thought' would help me with discovery because he had personal knowledge of ex's income; but instead of helping me he gave the letter I wrote to the ex. Now ex is venting at me for contacting the guy.

I don't really care about that because all I did was ask for his help to aid me in my c/s case. Ex is screaming libal but I don't think that will hold water.

As far as I know, libal means telling lies about someone, correct? I asked for information about his income to support my c/s case - - no lies. I'm sure he will bring this up.

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#204124 - 03/13/07 03:41 AM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: 100kay]
jil_stevens Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 08/01/06
Posts: 3893
Libel is printing information that you know to be false. If all you did was ask for information, then there wasn't any libel. He's just blowing smoke.

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#204125 - 03/13/07 03:42 AM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: jil_stevens]
katiefedup Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 10/27/05
Posts: 11669
one also has to prove money damages on libel

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#204126 - 03/13/07 03:44 AM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: katiefedup]
katiefedup Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 10/27/05
Posts: 11669
One can say or write that I am the worst parent or teacher, but unless their actions can be proven wrong AND I can show a $$$$ loss, I am out of luck. It becomes opinion.

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#204127 - 03/13/07 03:45 AM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: katiefedup]
jil_stevens Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 08/01/06
Posts: 3893
Not necessarily...

1. Law. a. defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures.
b. the act or crime of publishing it.
c. a formal written declaration or statement, as one containing the allegations of a plaintiff or the grounds of a charge.

2. anything that is defamatory or that maliciously or damagingly misrepresents.
–verb (used with object) 3. to publish a libel against.
4. to misrepresent damagingly.
5. to institute suit against by a libel, as in an admiralty court.


The verbal is excluded from libel because that is considered slander :)

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#204128 - 03/13/07 03:46 AM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: jil_stevens]
googledad Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 12/31/05
Posts: 10213
Write the letter if it'd make you feel better , just don't mail it . A beneficial outcome in court trumps any temporary satisfaction you'd receive by mailing it .
_________________________
Careful. We don't want to learn from this.

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#204129 - 03/13/07 03:48 AM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: jil_stevens]
katiefedup Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 10/27/05
Posts: 11669
yes I agree, but we do have the freedom of speach and print in this country...
If someone said I was a sex offender and I was fired, then it becomes court active.

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#204130 - 03/13/07 03:57 AM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: katiefedup]
jil_stevens Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 08/01/06
Posts: 3893
If someone said that and nothing happened, you should still press charges :)

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#204131 - 03/13/07 03:59 AM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: jil_stevens]
katiefedup Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 10/27/05
Posts: 11669
how far would it get? What are the damages?

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#204132 - 03/13/07 04:27 AM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: jil_stevens]
100kay Offline
journeyman

Registered: 09/22/04
Posts: 61
Okay, I went back in my email file and dug out the letter I sent. I started w/ an apology for the request, introduced myself, explained my relationship to the ex; and itemized in dollar amts what I was seeking in delinquent c/s.

It's a long email but if I look w/a critical eye anything that might come close to defamation of character w/b:

* he is delinquent in childsupport
* he flies into a rage toward me and creates chaos
* he stated his income is ($$)...can you provide documentation otherwise?
* can you provide documents of legal dispute you had w/him

[color:blue]does this sound incriminating to you?? [/color]

Btw, my 1st email asked the guy permission to ask him questions about the ex. He responded in the affirmative and said he perfered to be contacted by email.

Based on how mad I am about the current issue, I really am proud of the way I wrote the letter. It is written apologetically and without malice. I stated I could not afford a lawyer and was forced to do research on my own.


Edited by 100kay (03/13/07 04:29 AM)

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#204133 - 03/13/07 06:58 AM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: 100kay]
Gecko Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/04
Posts: 20602
Loc: Third rock from the sun
Write your heart out...wait two days...and then delete the letter.
_________________________
If you air your dirty linen in public, expect people to comment on the skid marks!

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#204134 - 03/13/07 10:59 AM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: 100kay]
tsl Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 2274
I would say he already contacted your X prior to the initial response of go ahead and ask away! Doesn't sound all that bad based on what you wrote here.

You can go through Court and request the Judge to order that guy to turn over X's income statements you know...
_________________________
Duct tape can't fix stupid but it can keep them out of the way."

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#204135 - 03/13/07 12:22 PM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: tsl]
Dee78 Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 11820
Loc: TN
I would probably leave out the part about flying into a rage and creating chaos, it really isn't pertinent. You need financial information and he may not provide it if he thinks that it could get nasty.

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#204136 - 03/13/07 12:32 PM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in cou [Re: 100kay]
pueblonative Offline
journeyman

Registered: 03/13/07
Posts: 90
[quote]
I don't really care about that because all I did was ask for his help to aid me in my c/s case. Ex is screaming libal but I don't think that will hold water.

As far as I know, libal means telling lies about someone, correct? I asked for information about his income to support my c/s case - - no lies. I'm sure he will bring this up. [/quote]

There are a couple of reasons why libel won't hold:

1. Statute of limitations is one year from date of original publication or any publication with a "substantial modification"
2. Libel requires malace or--at the best for the plaintiff--negligence.
3. Publication is required, and publication means showing it to a third person. If you were writing to the ex about the ex, that doesn't count. You're the first person, he's the second. The only way it could be considered "publication" is if you wrote the letter about another person.


Point #1 renders the issue moot. Case closed.

Now, can it hurt you? Maybe, but I would hope that a judge on a family court would realize a divorce is not when people are on their finest behavior.


Edited by pueblonative (03/13/07 12:35 PM)

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#204137 - 03/13/07 12:47 PM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: katiefedup]
jil_stevens Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 08/01/06
Posts: 3893
The damages are personal defamation. I'm not sayiing it is enough to win in court, but it falls under the definition of libel.

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#204138 - 03/13/07 02:02 PM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: 100kay]
Susanf31 Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 10630
You best defense is to not respond AT ALL. Have your lawyer write ther response. Sounds like you've already filed. You will be going to court. Nothing is going to change that. They are picking a fight with you. Don't give them what they want. If you respond you'll be playing into their hands.

Give any coorespondence they send you to your lawyer.

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#204139 - 03/13/07 02:08 PM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: Susanf31]
Susanf31 Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/05
Posts: 10630
Also, they can only sue you for slander/libel if you KNOWLINGLY said false statements about another person. "Jennifer Lopez had liposuction" when you knew for a fact that she didn't.

However, relaying first-hand knowledge "he flies into a rage", if you know that to be true based on your own experience, is not libel/slander because it's a true statement. Now he if can show that you knowingly lied about that, which would be very difficult for him to do, then he would have libel/slander.

How do I know? My ex-father-in-law is a child molester. The last time he sent my girls gifts, i returned them unopened with a letter stating that he is to have no contact with my daughters because he is a child molester. He threatened me with a libel/slander lawsuit. I turned it over to my lawyer...who informed him and me that based on family information (his daughter's attempted suicide and his step-daughters acknowledgement that he had molested them), what I said was not knowingly false, therefore, no libel/slander occured.

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#204140 - 03/13/07 04:06 PM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: 100kay]
Gecko Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/04
Posts: 20602
Loc: Third rock from the sun
"he is delinquent in childsupport" and "he flies into a rage toward me and creates chaos"

---> The above is where you went wrong. Think about it...how would YOU feel if say a bill collector contacted someone you knew and said "100Kay hasn't paid her cell phone in three months and the last time I tried to talk to her, she flew into a rage." I'm pretty sure you wouldn't like it at all. Though it is doubtful that you'll end up in court over it...at least not on the first part (the second is a little iffy), you should have just stuck to the bare facts.
_________________________
If you air your dirty linen in public, expect people to comment on the skid marks!

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#204141 - 03/13/07 09:49 PM Re: Can writing mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: katiefedup]
100kay Offline
journeyman

Registered: 09/22/04
Posts: 61
You guys are the best!

I did start writing a letter and got it all off my chest. I probably will not send it. Now I'm able to write a response that addresses the c/s issues only. I will send it all to my attorney for review before sending anything.

As for the libel issue, if it is at all likely he pursues this - - it would bring the other guy into court. This would bring out the details of the law suit between the both of them and trust me, the ex would look much worse than me calling him "a rage-aholic". (I didn't say that in the letter...)

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#204142 - 04/14/07 02:56 PM FOLLOWUP: .. mean/nasty letters hurt you in court? [Re: jil_stevens]
100kay Offline
journeyman

Registered: 09/22/04
Posts: 61
My Story:
-No modification ever-since 1993.
-Started procedings in 2004
- been thru Atty Gen. Office and 1 other law xfirmx
- Dropped AG case because they do not work to disclose income.
- Fired lawyer because of multiple mishandlings ending up with me getting 1/4 of what was due - Believe or not - I complained to the xfirmx owner and got a refund!
:shocked:
- every court date is 6mos+ apart
- I did not send the venting letter - stuck to the facts
- Finally went to court and ex did not show up and his atty was late. EX's atty actually said "I don't know if I told him about this hearing." (!!!!!) :shocked:

- NOTHING HAPPENED! :mad: My atty said I could go home and he and ex's atty went off to "discuss things".

I have had some terrible luck w/lawyers. Even though my current atty. talks a good game and seems to be fighting on my behalf - I wonder.

The last thing he said to me was "fill out the expenses and income" form. Years ago, I recall being told "I was not required to submit income because cs is not based upon MY income". :confused:

Current Questions:
1) How do you make sure your atty is doing his job?

2) What is a reasonable time span to hear an update?

3) Do you call the court clerk for status? I have done that and always seem to catch things just in time before something is about to be "dismissed". That sucks!

4) My atty has been paid in full - the work he is doing is being drawn off an account that still has $1,400 in it.

5) How does this impact an atty's motivation to close a case? I would think he would want it over with early... Plus the ex will have to reimburse me atty fees.

6) What about me having to fill out the income expense form? I really don't mind doing it because it would certainly prove the need for the modification - - but my paranoia makes me wonder if it may be used against me somehow.

Thanks in advance...
6) Isn't not showing up a serious offense???

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