The Arizona Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the custody case of Steve Nash, the point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. The opinion upheld the trial court’s decision, which prohibited either party from disparaging the other on social media. The issue arose initially when Nash’s ex-wife tweeted some disparaging comments about Nash. Nash’s ex appealed the trial court’s decision, claiming that it infringed upon her First Amendment rights.
The Court of Appeals, in upholding the trial court’s prohibition of disparaging comments, relied heavily on the fact that the parties had reached an agreement in their custody matter that contained language forbidding either party from speaking poorly about the other. In doing so, the Court found that the parties had agreed to restrictions on their rights to free speech.
Unfortunately, while this case provides some guidance, because of the narrow ruling which relied on the parties’ agreement, it doesn’t answer the question of whether one parent can be prohibited from expressing his or her negative views about the other parent.