Celebrity Attorney Stacy Phillips Discusses Hollywood Divorces Where Social Media, Co-Parenting Struggles and Parent Alienation Dominate the News
Social media has taken over our lives. We use social media to share information, stay in contact with our family and friends, look for a job, build a career, re-connect with lost pals, post our location, or live vicariously through the lens of a celebrity’s life on vacation or on the red carpet. In fact, there are many people who became household names, a term we now know as “influencers,” and earn a good living because of social media. An individual who has more than 40,000 followers on platforms such as Instagram and Twitter is defined as a macro-influencer, and that’s where advertisers are turning their attention to lure talent to sell their products or find the next big star. But when famous couples, who built their brand via social media, are going through a divorce, and emotions are at peak levels, all bets are off when social media comes into play. Stacy D. Phillips is a Partner at the law firm Blank Rome. She is also a Certified Family Law Specialist, and author of the book “Divorce: It’s All About Control — How to Win the Emotional, Psychological and Legal Wars.” When it comes to a Hollywood divorce, Stacy has been in the trenches for many of them because her client roster includes Former MLB player Darryl Strawberry, Singer Bobby Brown, TV personality/Chef Dean Sheremet, actress Kelly Rutherford and in 2008, Stacy represented the Conservators regarding Britney Spears’ family law matters.
Ilyssa Panitz: Christina Hall and her ex-Ant Anstead finalized their divorce in June 2021. The couple shares a three-year-old boy named Hudson. Since the couple split, they have been at odds when it comes to Hudson’s care. Back in September, Christina announced she will no longer post pictures of the pre-schooler on her social media handles or film him for her television series. This comes after Ant went to a California court to demand Christina stop at once. My question is, is it common that exes don’t see eye to eye when it comes to uploading images of their kids on their social media sites?
Stacy Phillips: I’ve had many clients who are very successful, famous, or from super-wealthy families who simply refuse to allow their spouse to use photographs of their children online or to be in the media or on reality shows. For most of them, their biggest fears are for safety or kidnapping. So, some are very careful and don’t want that exposure. Other clients merely feel keeping the children out of the public eye is simply the best strategy to help them keep some sense of a normal childhood and some semblance of privacy and anonymity. Either way, this is an agreement that should be reached together. It should be obvious to all parties that a child can’t protect their own privacy, so it’s incumbent on the parents to do that for them.
Ilyssa Panitz: Is there a California law that deals with social media, kids, and divorce?
Stacy Phillips: The court always has jurisdiction to make orders that are in the best interests of the children. However, I do not know any statute saying one can or can’t post pictures on social media.
Ilyssa Panitz: If one side does not want the other to show images of the kids online, does that have to be negotiated and written into a custody agreement?
Stacy Phillips: As a Family Law and Divorce Attorney, I do believe this is an agreement that should be reached together. It should be a joint legal custody decision best decided by the parents and not the court.
To read the full interview, please click here.
“Celebrity Attorney Stacy Phillips Discusses Hollywood Divorces Where Social Media, Co-Parenting Struggles and Parent Alienation Dominate the News,” by Ilyssa Panitz was published in Authority Magazine on November 15, 2022.