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Since: Mar 09

Miami, FL

#1 Jun 4, 2012
DEAR ABBY: I'm divorced with a young son. My ex-husband and I share joint custody, and for the most part it has worked well. My problem is that my ex is very bitter about our divorce and the fact I have moved on with my life. He constantly makes derogatory comments to me in front of our son and others.

It is bad enough that my son must witness this, but my ex has taken it a step further. He is the editor of a small newspaper and is now making disparaging comments about me in his column. He is trying to improve his image at my expense; however, I am unable to respond because he won't print a rebuttal in his paper.

The abuse continues despite the divorce, but now the audience is wider. Is this ethical journalism, and how can I put a stop to it?-- FRUSTRATED EX

DEAR FRUSTRATED EX: Using a newspaper column to continue a personal vendetta over a failed marriage is not ethical journalism, although it may make for titillating reading. You do not have to tolerate his public sniping. Take the offensive clippings to your lawyer and ask him or her to write a strong letter to the publisher of the newspaper -- because that's who will be liable if there are grounds for a lawsuit.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I attended a wedding in September of last year. We purchased expensive crystal for the bride and groom, which cost us nearly $600. This was separate from the bridal shower gift we gave them in May. We have not received thank-you notes for either of these gifts.

My husband told me that you have said it's appropriate to send thank-you notes up to one year after the wedding. My mother taught me to send them as quickly as possible.

My sister had her wedding thank-you notes out in three weeks, and I had mine out in two weeks. My sister and I both worked and were setting up new households with our husbands, but we felt it was a priority. We wanted to ensure that our family and friends knew how much their thoughtfulness was appreciated.

Can you please clarify thank-you note etiquette? I am tired of wondering if my gifts were received and appreciated.-- DISGUSTED IN DELAWARE

DEAR DISGUSTED: I have said in the past that a thank-you note anytime is better than none at all. However, good manners dictate that thank-you notes should follow within three months at the latest, and preferably within one month -- regardless of whether the giver has been thanked verbally.

DEAR ABBY: I work in the medical field and have recently learned about a campaign that was launched in England. It urges people to store the word "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) in their cellphone address book, along with the phone number of the person you would want contacted.

It's such a simple idea, but it could be extremely helpful in an emergency situation. It would save ambulance crews and hospital staff precious time and ensure that a patient's loved ones are contacted as quickly as possible.

If you agree the idea is worthwhile, please mention it in your column and help to get this initiated in the United States.-- TANYA F., MIAMI

DEAR TANYA: The idea is certainly worth considering; however, I would offer a minor adjustment. I would recommend that it be indexed under "Emergency Contact" rather than an obscure heading such as "ICE."

Since: Mar 09

Miami, FL

#2 Jun 4, 2012
L1: That's called libel. Sue.

L2: This isn't officially a rehash, but it might as well be.

L3: Yeah, 2008 called, it wants its idea back. Seriously, Abby? You've never heard of ICE?

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#3 Jun 4, 2012
LW1: Could possibly be libel. What Abby said.

LW2: STFU.

LW3: Whatever.

Since: Dec 07

DuPage County

#4 Jun 4, 2012
L1: Classic case of libel, sue his azz! While you're at it, have the lawyer look at restricting his visitation, due to the toll this is taking on your kid.

L1: I'm confused, is this Dear Abby or Miss Manners?

L3: I'm with JMW. This is so 5 years ago.....

Since: Nov 10

Ardsley, NY

#5 Jun 4, 2012
LW3- My phone has a password, so this won't work.
ChicagolandChica

United States

#6 Jun 4, 2012
Hilarious, I got my current phone in 2010 and it has a specific "Emergency Contact" section with a place for notes and everything...

Since: Jun 09

Montréal, Canada

#7 Jun 4, 2012
L1: I think Abby's advice was good, but I'm not willing to jump on the libel bandwagon yet. I mean, people say negative things all the time that aren't necessarily libel. Think "My ex is bleeding me dry. I can't believe she's already shacked up with the pool boy, the one I paid to clean the pool, not play with my wife. AND she's turning my kid into a sissy. He's not even allowed to play little league ball anymore."

All those things should not be in the paper, but they are not slanderous and they could be true. I still think legal counsel and a cease and decist order would be worthwhile. She might even be able to get the family court judge to put a stop to it.

Since: Mar 09

Miami, FL

#8 Jun 4, 2012
cycle003 wrote:
L1: I think Abby's advice was good, but I'm not willing to jump on the libel bandwagon yet. I mean, people say negative things all the time that aren't necessarily libel. Think "My ex is bleeding me dry. I can't believe she's already shacked up with the pool boy, the one I paid to clean the pool, not play with my wife. AND she's turning my kid into a sissy. He's not even allowed to play little league ball anymore."
All those things should not be in the paper, but they are not slanderous and they could be true. I still think legal counsel and a cease and decist order would be worthwhile. She might even be able to get the family court judge to put a stop to it.
The definition of libel is, according to dictionary.com :

defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures.

It doesn't say that the stuff is necessarily false, just defaming. This guy is the editor of the paper - I wonder where in the paper he's airing the dirty laundry? And if he's doing it under his own name or not?

“Fort Kickass”

Since: Sep 09

Bloomington, IL

#9 Jun 4, 2012
More importantly, is there a link to this guy's paper so we can read it?

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#10 Jun 4, 2012
j_m_w wrote:
<quoted text>
The definition of libel is, according to dictionary.com :
defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures.
It doesn't say that the stuff is necessarily false, just defaming. This guy is the editor of the paper - I wonder where in the paper he's airing the dirty laundry? And if he's doing it under his own name or not?
A defense to libel is truth. Another defense is opinion. There are others, as well.

For example, I can opine that someone is an a-hole, slimy cheat, and a no good red bellied swine, with impunity.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#11 Jun 4, 2012
1 Of course he's bitter, your smoking his best friends pole.

2 I thought a generic thank you on FB was the new way to do it?

3 Yeah, and password protected phones????
Sam I Am

Palatine, IL

#12 Jun 4, 2012
1. What he is doing is called libel. Hire an attorney to write a letter to both him and his editor. But remember, if it's true, it's not libel.

2. Can we start a petition on a ban for stupid "thank you note etiquette" posts?

3.
Cass

Claremont, CA

#13 Jun 4, 2012
LW1 - If he thinks he is *improving* his image by publishing personal rants about an ex-wife in the editorial column, he is sadly mistaken. Be happy that he won't print a rebuttal - it keeps the temptation away from you to take your squabbles into the public forum. You can also say to people in private (put on a sad, compassionate face first), "Of course, it is understandable that John is very bitter. He has a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I moved on with my life, and he can't. I hope, for little Josh's sake and for his own, he gets some help. I'd love nothing better than for the father of my child to be happy with his life." Or some such.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#14 Jun 4, 2012
L1: Libel and slander are a difficult area of the law to prove, and even the courts have trouble getting it right. "I don't like Mcdonald's french fries" is opinion. "McDonald's french fries taste like crap" may get you into some trouble.

Yes, get a lawyer, I guess. More importantly, look into divorce mediation and see if your ex will participate. He needs to see that he is being A BAD FATHER by bashing you to the child.

l2: Your husband is wrong. TY notes are supposed to be sent as soon as possible. Certainly no more than a month. But who spends $600 on a wedding gift? That's insane.

L3: I think an EMT would know what to do when he found "Mom" in my cell phone. Also, my five most important contacts, I prefaced their names with "Aa" so they're at the top alphabetically.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#15 Jun 4, 2012
Cass wrote:
LW1 - If he thinks he is *improving* his image by publishing personal rants about an ex-wife in the editorial column, he is sadly mistaken. Be happy that he won't print a rebuttal - it keeps the temptation away from you to take your squabbles into the public forum. You can also say to people in private (put on a sad, compassionate face first), "Of course, it is understandable that John is very bitter. He has a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I moved on with my life, and he can't. I hope, for little Josh's sake and for his own, he gets some help. I'd love nothing better than for the father of my child to be happy with his life." Or some such.
I know! I would think he's coming off horribly and looking WORSE by doing this. Which makes me think she initiated the divorce and possibly had an affair, and that he is using this info to defend himself and show that it was all her fault.

That's all i can think of, because his reasoning is just ridiculous
Cass

Claremont, CA

#16 Jun 4, 2012
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
<quoted text>
I know! I would think he's coming off horribly and looking WORSE by doing this. Which makes me think she initiated the divorce and possibly had an affair, and that he is using this info to defend himself and show that it was all her fault.
That's all i can think of, because his reasoning is just ridiculous
Even if she cheated and is bleeding him dry on alimony, taking his bitterness public using his *job* is just a really stupid move both from the personal and legal point of view. If she is savvy enough, she can use his public rants as evidence that his is emotionally unstable (i.e. doesn't have sufficient control to focus on his work duties when he is on the job) and that he is ruining her reputation, even if absolutely everything he prints is true. Not only is he making himself look unbalanced, but he is giving her legal weapons against himself. Idiot.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#17 Jun 4, 2012
Why is printing the truth giving her legal weapons?
Cass wrote:
<quoted text>
Even if she cheated and is bleeding him dry on alimony, taking his bitterness public using his *job* is just a really stupid move both from the personal and legal point of view. If she is savvy enough, she can use his public rants as evidence that his is emotionally unstable (i.e. doesn't have sufficient control to focus on his work duties when he is on the job) and that he is ruining her reputation, even if absolutely everything he prints is true. Not only is he making himself look unbalanced, but he is giving her legal weapons against himself. Idiot.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#18 Jun 4, 2012
ITA, Cass.

Makes me wonder who owns this paper (i assume it's small-town).
Cass

Claremont, CA

#19 Jun 4, 2012
RACE wrote:
Why is printing the truth giving her legal weapons?
<quoted text>
Because he can't stop printing them, and because they are personal. He comes across as vindictive, obsessed, and unhinged. She can use this in arguing for less custody for him, for more alimony (if the dirty laundry in his columns interferes with her employability), etc. It is really smart to keep personal things in a divorce between the exes and the lawyers. Anything that makes you look bad may be used by an ex against you in a divorce, and if it makes you look bad publicly, you can't even argue that the ex is making it up.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#20 Jun 4, 2012
But they are already divorced, and he is printing stuff like "she chews with her mouth open" and "Her farts smell like a dead festering bloated fish"
hardly the stuff that will keep her from getting a job.
Cass wrote:
<quoted text>
Because he can't stop printing them, and because they are personal. He comes across as vindictive, obsessed, and unhinged. She can use this in arguing for less custody for him, for more alimony (if the dirty laundry in his columns interferes with her employability), etc. It is really smart to keep personal things in a divorce between the exes and the lawyers. Anything that makes you look bad may be used by an ex against you in a divorce, and if it makes you look bad publicly, you can't even argue that the ex is making it up.

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