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News - 2020

June. 2020

Rich Novitch, Julianna Zane to present on landmark SJC family law ruling

Richard Novitch and Julianna Zane will be part of a panel discussion analyzing the impact of a recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision that invalidated a non-disparagement order in a divorce case on the basis that it violated the 1st Amendment rights of the husband.

Entitled “The Shak Decision and Beyond,” the Boston Bar Association webinar is slated for Friday, June 19, 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

The SJC ruled that the non-disparagement order – which prohibited the husband in a pending divorce case from posting disparaging remarks about his ex-wife on social media – was an unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech.

The court vacated the non-disparagement order because it was not supported by evidence of “grave, imminent harm” to the toddler child of the divorcing parents, which is necessary to justify an order restraining parents from posting comments on social media.

In the underlying divorce case, the mother, represented by Mr. Novitch and Ms. Zane, pursued a contempt action against the father for posts he made on Facebook about the proceeding.

The SJC decision is expected to have a major impact on divorce cases in Massachusetts, as prior to the ruling Family Court judges routinely granted non-disparagement orders.

Mr. Novitch represents clients in all aspects of family law, including complex matrimonial matters and high net worth property division.  He has tried numerous cases in Probate and Family Courts in Massachusetts, and has extensive experience handling complex cases and issues on appeal.

Ms. Zane concentrates her practice in family law, including divorce, prenuptial agreements, child custody, asset division, and related litigation.