Imagine if a judge took to Facebook to issue an order. Twenty years ago such an idea was unfathomable. Even a few years ago it was considered absurd. But not today, in our internet-focused society. Recently, a court in Ohio told a man found in contempt due to a violation of a protective order against his ex-wife to apologize to his ex on Facebook or else. The news reports are a little sketchy, but it appears that the basis for the contempt finding was a statement the defendant posted on his Facebook page. Experienced mediators understand, especially when dealing with a marital issue, that it is best to discuss potential resentments in a controlled environment and not on social media.
Unfortunately the parties were not working with a skilled mediator and the defendant took matters into his own hands. As a result, the Ohio court gave the defendant the option to either post the apology for 30 consecutive days on his Facebook page, or face 60 days in jail. The defendant picked the apology option and has started posting the apology on his Facebook page.
The lesson here? Well, there are probably a few; including what goes on Facebook stays on Facebook! Additionally, this story is a good reminder that while the court system can be very effective, sometimes parties (in a marital or business dispute) need to work out their frustrations with the help of a knowledgable neutral.
Bruce A. Friedman is a mediator with a national practice. With years of litigation experience behind him, he understands the goals of the mediation process and will do his best to ensure that the needs of both parties are met, justly and efficiently. For more information on the mediation services that Bruce A. Friedman provides, check out his website at http://www.FriedmanMediation.com or call him at (310) 201-0010.