Floyd Mayweather: Don't Talk About Your Family Law Matters in Public

Last weekend, professional boxer Floyd Mayweather beat Manny Pacquiao in a highly anticipated fight watched around the world. Now, Mayweather is up for the next big fight of his lifetime: the mother of Mayweather's three children just filed a lawsuit for $20 million dollars against him.

According to TMZ, Josie Harris claims in her lawsuit that Mayweather lied in an interview with Katie Couric aired two weeks before the big fight. In the interview, Mayweather said Josie was in a "drug-fuelled rage" one night in 2010 and that this caused a violent incident between them. One of Mayweather and Harris' children witnessed and reported the incident to the police, and Mayweather ultimately served jail time for domestic violence.

Mayweather's public interview serves as a reminder about the importance of keeping your legal matters and your opinions about your former spouse private. In Mayweather's case, disparaging your former spouse by e-mail, text, or social media can compromise your claims for child custody and access.

Throughout Canada, the best interest of the children is the governing principle when determining the issues of custody, access and/or a parenting schedule. A Court may terminate access visits altogether if any of the following factors are established:

  1. Long term harassment and harmful behaviours towards the custodial parent causing that parent and the child stress and/or fear;
  2. History of violence; unpredictable, uncontrollable behaviour; alcohol, drug abuse which has been witnessed by the child and/or presents a risk to the child's safety and well-being;
  3. Extreme parental alienation;
  4. Ongoing severe denigration of the other parent;
  5. Lack of relationship or attachment between the non-custodial parent and child;
  6. Neglect or abuse to a child on the access visits; and
  7. Older children's wishes and preferences to terminate access.

If Mayweather and his children resided in Ontario, a Court might consider Mayweather's original violent abuse of Harris and the ongoing public commentary on the matter to be sufficiently serious to terminate access. Family law disputes can be very stressful, but airing this frustration in a public setting like Facebook, Twitter or on television suggests that a parent is either unwilling or unable to put the best interests of the children before the parent's own interests. Courts can and will review screenshots of inappropriate text messages and Facebook updates as evidence against a parent who is applying for custody or access.

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