Your Options When Dealing With A Harassing Spouse or Ex-Spouse

02 - spouse harrassment

It is not uncommon for one parent to begin pestering the other (or even the children) on parenting choices, child custody, child support, or visitation due to the emotional and physical toll of divorce. The non-harassing parent may determine that the divorce settlement has to be modified in these circumstances. While the legal procedure is resolved, there are things you can take in the meanwhile.

Harassment: What is it?

Harassment can take many different forms, including verbal abuse, physical harm, and stalking. While some of these behaviors are obviously prohibited, others, like making verbal threats, may also be illegal.

Other forms of harassment, such as disparaging you in front of the kids or spreading rumors among friends, may not always be against the law, but it doesn’t make them any less hurtful. They might even transgress the custody arrangement, which is still a possibility.

Contact the police and your attorney if you are concerned about physical harm or other dangers. To find out what steps you may be able to take about other matters, think about speaking with the police or your attorney.

The harassment: Is it abusive?

Once more, you should get in touch with the police and your lawyer if there has been physical abuse. They will be able to let the proper authorities know, such as child protective services, so you can get the kids out of a dangerous situation. A judge may also grant the abusive parent a restraining order or grant them sole use and possession of the marital home.

Once you’re not in imminent danger, you should be aware that domestic violence is frequently a symptom of the offender’s more serious emotional and mental issues. Similar to addiction, abuse is unlikely to end without expert assistance. It is unlikely to be successful to try and stop the abuse by talking to your partner. Contacting the authorities and enlisting expert assistance is the better and far more effective option.

It makes sense that some parents would wish to continue their friendship with the abusive parent and any children. However, bear in mind that before any relationship can work, the abuser needs to get therapy. Protecting yourself and your children must come first.

What Can You Do If Someone Is Being Harassed Legally But Not Abusively?

You might try speaking with your ex about insignificant situations. He could not be taking into account the full ramifications of his actions, after all. Informed, he might decide to alter his behavior.

Establish more assertive channels of contact if the harassment is directed at you. You may, for instance, notify your ex-spouse that you would only contact each other via email or text messages, which will both preserve a record of your correspondence in case you need it as evidence in court.

You can make a list of topics that your spouse shouldn’t broach with the kids if he is using them as tools of harassment.

You should consult a lawyer if the harassment doesn’t stop or if it might be against the law.

Should You Take Defense?

It only makes sense. You might wish to react and badmouth your ex-spouse if he speaks ill of you in front of the kids. You might wish to spread rumors if he is doing so. Defy these inclinations. Retaliation is unlikely to put an end to the harassment on his end; instead, it will likely make it worse. In addition, if the issue is brought up in court, your retribution may backfire on you because you will be held equally responsible.

Instead, make an effort to document the instances of harassment. Include the date and time of the incident, the details of your complaint, the identities of any witnesses, and any information. You should save any emails or texts that are being used as harassment.

Exist Legal Remedies to Stop Harassment?

You have a number of choices if the harassment persists.

You can first file a criminal complaint and ask the prosecutor to request a protective order on your behalf. Physical interactions between you and your ex can be restricted by a protection order, whether permanent or temporary. Your ex-spouse could face criminal contempt charges if they disobey the provisions of such a divorce order.

If you want to further restrict your personal interactions with your ex, you can also ask the court to grant you exclusive use and possession of the marital home under specified conditions if a divorce action is ongoing.

You can also file a family offense petition in family court if the police are not interested in prosecuting the case. In this kind of case, you can also get a protective order. You can also ask for an order mandating that you and your ex-spouse attend co-parenting counseling if the harassment was motivated by the children. Please contact one of our lawyers right now if you want to learn more.