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Divorce Porn

Is it really in your best interest to post intimate photos of your ex—or of yourself?

I’ve heard this question asked recently: “How can I get my ex to stop posting nude photos of themselves with their new love interest on social media? They are hurtful to me, and the children may eventually see them.”

This is a kind of flipside to so-called “revenge porn,” in which one former partner reacts to a bitter break-up by posting nude photos of their ex on social media—photos that presumably are intended to anger and/or humiliate them. For example, an estranged wife appears to be basking in the glow of a new relationship—and letting the world, and her ex, see how happy she is. “I will survive—and I will rub it in your face.”

The answer to the question is simple: There is nothing you can do to stop your spouse or ex-spouse from posting intimate pictures of her/himself on social media.

In fact, even “revenge porn” is not illegal in New York state, although many people mistakenly believe it is because of legislation passed in 2014 that closed a loophole in a preexisting statute pertaining to unlawful surveillance. That legislation effectively made it a crime to record and distribute photos or videos of a sexual nature when a partner did not consent to being filmed or know it was happening. Typically, revenge porn involves posting photos of an ex-spouse or ex-lover that were taken, with full consent, when the couple were still happily together.

And there is no law preventing your former partner from posting his or her own photos, since consent is implicit. It doesn’t matter how they make you feel, and legally, it doesn’t matter if they are available to your children. So it becomes more a question of decency and judgment than of law. And some people, obviously, have different thresholds of decency than others—and may be living too much in the moment to consider whether they will regret it later. If you and your ex have poor communication at this point, and if the photos are intended to be hurtful, there may not be anything you can do. Your best bet might be to appeal to his or her better judgment by focusing on the potential harm to the children.

Copyright 2017 Joanne P. Monagan, Esq.

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