Gailor Hunt Has Been Named The BEST Family Law Firm By Raleigh Residents Two Years In A Row! See The 2023 Award HERE.

Spousal Defamation

Get In Touch Today

Contact Us
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Spousal Defamation, Libel and Slander Cases During Separation and Divorce

Video: What role does social media play in divorce?

When spouses separate, the issue of defamation sometimes arises.  One spouse may feel that other spouse has posted untruthful comments about him or her on social media, or otherwise made written or verbal statements that cast him or her in a bad light. In some cases, a spouse may have a claim for defamation in the form of libel (written statements) or slander (spoken statements).

A claim for defamation requires you to prove that: (1) a false and defamatory statement was made; (2) the statement was about you; (3) the statement was “published” to a third party (someone other than you and your spouse); and (4) the statement resulted in damages to your reputation.

As with most legal claims, there must be some type of injury to you.  In a claim for defamation, the injury must be to your reputation, typically resulting in measurable loss, such as your ability to earn income or your standing in the community.

In a libel claim (written statements), damages are presumed, regardless of monetary loss, because the written word has more permanency than the spoken word. In a slander case (spoken words), you must prove actual monetary damages.

Examples of libel include statements that: (1) a person has committed an infamous crime; (2) a person has an infectious disease; (3) a person is incompetent or dishonest in his or her trade or profession; or (4) any statement that otherwise tends to subject a person to “ridicule, contempt or disgrace”.

Examples of slander include (1) verbal accusations that a person has committed a morally offensive crime; (2) verbal allegations that harm a person in his or her trade, business, or profession; or (3) a verbal insinuation that a person has a “loathsome disease.”

Truth is a defense in all defamation actions; in other words, if the statement is true, it is not libel or slander.

In some cases, a person may have immunity from defamation claims.  For  instance, if the defamatory words were spoken in the context of a judicial proceeding and were related to that proceeding, the circumstances would bar a defamation claim.

gailor hunt attorney
The content on this page was reviewed a Gailor Hunt Davis Taylor & Gibbs, PLLC attorney. You can learn more about our attorneys experience and expertise on their bio pages, which can be found on our Meet The Team page. If you have a question about this page, you can email one of our attorneys directly through the email on their bio page.