It's time to stop media outlets and internet sites from publishing allegations made in a divorce. People's lives and reputations are being unfairly destroyed. Mostly this happens to men since it is a time-honored tradition to cast men as villains in divorce. And since we have first amendment rights in this country that protect the publishing of these libelous accusations, the fix has to come from the court system. Specifically, there needs to be a law that keeps divorce proceedings sealed in family court to protect the unjustly accused.
How many times have we seen allegations made in a divorce complaint put out in the public by news organizations looking to boost readership? Just because a person "swears to tell the truth" or be subject to penalty under the perjury laws doesn't mean that they are. In reality, lying is rampant in family court and the reality is that there is no punishment for it. I have never heard of a family court judge imposing a significant penalty for lying. So why not lie as a tactic to humiliate your public-figure-soon-to-be-ex-husband? You might force him to give you everything you want in your divorce.
The New York Post just ran an "exclusive" piece that began as follows:
The man hired to remake Donald Trump's image roughed up and threatened his wife during their marriage, she claimed in court documents obtained by The Post.
Stephen K. Bannon, the new CEO of the Trump campaign, grabbed then-wife Mary Louise Piccard "by the throat and arm," and threatened "to take the girls and leave," referring to their twin daughters, according to a declaration she filed in their divorce case, which began in the mid-1990s.
The NY Post is a right leaning publication and certainly not a fan of Hillary Clinton. So in this case, salacious allegations about a man going through divorce, has trumped politics. It's both surprising and disgusting.
I also went through a divorce in the 1990's. My ex-wife accused me of everything under the sun - trying to kill her, beat her and the kids and much more. My divorce also made the newspapers and as a result I had a damaged reputation stick to me. My kids got to hear people talk badly about their father - for years after the divorce was over. Some parents wouldn't let their kids play with my kids at my house.
The problem with all of this, is that not one shred of what my ex-wife accused me of was true. What is true was that she walked out on me and our 5 kids (when the youngest was 18 months old and the oldest was 8 years old) and never returned. I got full custody of all of them and she hasn't seen or spoken to her kids in 15 years. But those facts didn't stop public disclosure of her allegations from unjustly damaging my reputation and hurting my children - permanently.
The Post did their tiny bit of attempted journalism, so they could justify this hack-piece and contacted both sides for a current comment. They included the following at the very bottom of the article:
"I have no comment and neither does my daughter," Piccard told The Post.
A representative for Bannon told The Post, "Steve has a great relationship with his ex-wife and his twins."
Whether you hate, like or love Donald Trump, this kind of public attack on one of his employees is completely unacceptable. It's unacceptable for us regular folk too.
It's time to demand that our family court system seal all divorce case proceedings. That will stop making it easy for media outlets and internet sites to ruin people's lives for their selfish purpose of gaining readers and viewers.