I’ve been dealing with divorce cases day after day for many years. I sit with people who tell me their entire life’s story from the moment they fell in love to the moment they walked into my office, determined to initiate divorce proceedings. And so often people think slander (Lashon Harah) will get them a better divorce deal. Not if you’re my client!
A few things stand out to me during these meetings.
- I will never get used to seeing two people who were so deeply in love that they abandoned all other pursuits to share their lives, becoming the bitterest of enemies.
- People seem unable to comprehend that it is possible to get divorced without being hostile and belligerent to each other.
- I see far too many cases where one parent poisons the minds and feelings of their children against the other parent resulting in parental alienation.
In recent years, one of the trendy ploys used by the divorcing “community”, (sadly, there is such a thing) is Lashon Harah (slander) – where one spouse invents and spreads stories about the other in order to facilitate a more favorable outcome for themselves in the divorce. And the stories are diverse.
I refused to speak with one woman who was spreading rumors that her husband is gay and with another who claimed her husband was a pervert. Then there have been women who insist that their spouse is sexually molesting the children. And then there are husbands who talk about their wives having mental disorders and more. As far as I’m concerned, if someone wishes to use slander (Lashon Harah) to get a better divorce deal they can find someone else to represent them.
A couple, parents of twins, filed for divorce due to the husband relocating abroad for work related reasons.
In the course of the divorce proceedings, the father realized that because of their mother’s influence, the children were distancing themselves from him and eventually refused to see him altogether. As things progressed, the woman exacerbated the situation by filing a police report stating that the father was sexually molesting his daughter and beating his son.
The case wound up in court where the truth was exposed.
During the cross-examination, the mother admitted that the episode she reported to the police was a figment of her imagination and never happened.
The daughter denied that the father molested her.
The judge also established that some of the professional reports submitted were compiled after meetings with the mother only and no professionals had spoken with the children.
And the children’s grandmother had submitted false testimony to the domestic violence investigators in support of her daughter’s version of events in order to discredit the father.
The judge ruled to immediately restore the father’s relationship with the children. Vut the father was not prepared to let this attack on him and his children rest and consequently sued the mother for damages for slander and defamation.
In the damage suit he filed, he detailed the extent of the impact the slander had against him personally and on his connection to his children. He demanded compensation for the financial and emotional losses he suffered due to, among other things, the false accusation made to the police and the slander spoken about him.
Judge Rotem Kodler Iyash ruled in favor of the husband, saying, “We must condemn the interaction between family members who are operating out of spite to harm other family members.” With this, she awarded him a compensation of NIS 265,000 for the financial and emotional damage that the children’s mother and grandmother caused him.
This issue of Lashon Hara is close to my heart because I have seen people’s lives destroyed by untrue, spiteful stories. It is important to be aware that you do have recourse if you are unjustly accused and you can even claim compensation.