Court Rules Involuntary Nondisparaging Clauses Unconstitutional

The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), on a case of direct appellate review, recently ruled (May 7, 2020) that involuntary nondisparaging clauses  are an “impermissible restraint on speech.”  Shak v. Shak, SJC-2748. These types of clauses are frequently used to prevent spouses from discussing their cases on social media. The Court held: “As important as it is to protect a child from the emotional and psychological harm that might follow from one parent’s use of vulgar or disparaging words about the other, merely reciting that interest is not enough to satisfy the heavy burden of restricting speech.” This is a landmark
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