Defamation and Divorce: How Does it Work in California?

Pleasanton CA divorce attorneyDivorce can often be described as tense, hostile, and downright rage-inducing. It’s not surprising, given the nature of the conflict, but people can often say or do things that go too far. Name-calling, nasty accusations, and false allegations are just some of the things we’ve seen surface during the typical divorce proceedings.

At the Law Office of James P. White, we are often asked about whether someone can sue an ex-spouse for some of the stuff they say or claim. There’s no simple answer and each case is different, but when there is a case, it often falls under defamation. To help clear the air, this blog post examines defamation as defined by California law, as well as additional details that apply when the dispute is between ex-spouses.

Defining Defamation as Per California Law

Under California Law, defamation is defined as any type of false communication that can hurt or damage another person. This could be via financial consequences, a tarnished reputation, and other types of damages.

Defamation is further categorized as either ‘libel’ for written communications or ‘slander’ for anything that is communicated verbally. In order for a statement to fall under any of these labels, California law has established that the following must be true:

  • The communications are false
  • The claims were communicated to others
  • The communications were not presented as merely an opinion
  • The allegations were harmful to an individual or his/her reputation

Things get more complicated when it comes to defamation and divorce. This is because, when it comes to divorce or other related disputes, people are granted additional protections in California, and their statements are shielded by privilege.

Speak with a Knowledgeable Divorce Attorney in California

Although many types of statements are protected by California family law, this doesn’t always apply and you could still have a case on your hand. To learn more, we advise that you seek out the expertise of a qualified family law attorney, someone who can provide you with in-depth legal guidance.

Remember that we at the Law Office of James P. White are a phone call away. Call our offices today to schedule a free initial consultation.