How Do I Get My Ex To Stop Harassing Me?

spouse harassmentBy Jennifer M. Paine

Cordell & Cordell Divorce Lawyer

Every divorced dad with kids, at some point during and after his divorce, will hear his ex-wife harassing him.

Trust me as a men’s divorce attorney, if it has not happened to you yet, it will. It may be a quibble over school grades, who is to take your son to soccer practice, whether your daughter needs to see a doctor, etc.

It may be her family or friends “just talking” at your child’s next function about your parenting style. It may be a constant stream of phone calls and texts about what needs to happen during your parenting time, who is around during your parenting time, whether the two of you agree on vacation time, and so forth.

For some divorced dads, these are minor annoyances that they can deal with. Send a quick text back to your ex about your child’s plans and remind those family and friends that you, and your child, can hear them talking at that event.

For most divorced dads, however, they snowball and feel like, and often are, harassment that erodes your parenting time.

What can you do? Consult with your divorce attorney and consider these three options to stop your ex from harassing you:


1. Civil Injunction

A civil injunction is the divorce court’s version of a personal protection order. What kinds of conditions you can include in yours is very state-specific, so be sure to consult with your attorney.

In general, civil injunctions require both parents to restrain from disparaging each other, in front of their child or otherwise, but they may also require each parent to refrain from talking to the other or appearing at the other’s home and work except to discuss matters pertaining to their child.

Unlike a personal protection order, however, most police officers will not enforce these orders automatically with the threat of, or actual, arrest if your ex violates the terms.

Rather, you have to file a contempt action in the divorce court. So, if your safety is at risk, you should consider a personal protection order instead.

On the other hand, this also means your ex cannot call the police claiming you violated the order or hold the threat of arrest over your head.


2. Forms of Communication

In all states, your judge can require certain forms of communication between you and your ex.

The goal here is to streamline the process for communication to eliminate the potential for three phones calls, 10 texts, five emails and a call from your in-laws over the span of minutes over something innocuous.

In other words, this is an option you may want to consider if your ex has a habit of barraging you with questions and, intentionally or not, interrupting your parenting time.

If phone calls inevitably lead to a yelling match about who-did-what-when, then texting may be more appropriate (except, of course, for emergencies).

If texting leads to hours spent on your phone defining yourself, then limits on the number of texts, or emails, or an obligation to use a journal (that your child should not see) may be more appropriate.

For particularly difficult exes, software that monitors and saves communications, potentially for the judge’s review, may be best.


3. Parenting Coordinator

There are some exes, though, who will just not comply no matter what your orders say.

They can create an “emergency” out of anything, for example, to justify their phone calls to you when the judge ordered calls only for emergencies. Or they will have friends and family contact you, Facebook message you, or drive by your home instead.

For these particularly difficult exes, sometimes a middle-person to field questions, settle disputes, and arrange parenting time is best.

Depending on your state, these folks are called parenting coordinators, post-judgment GALs, family counselors, etc., and their credentials vary. Fees can be steep, but they are also less expensive then constant post-divorce litigation.


The Need For Patience

Most of all, and this will take plenty of practice, learn to keep your patience. More often than not, what looks like harassment in the first few months post-divorce is really your ex’s way of navigating her own issues over your divorce.

She, as do you during her parenting time, has lost control over your most important assets – your children – and learning how to cope takes time for both of you.

If the harassment continues, though, know that you do have options, and consult with your attorney to determine which are best for you.

Cordell & Cordell:

Divorce Attorneys For Men


Jennifer M. Paine is a Michigan Divorce Lawyer with Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in Michigan, and has been admitted pro hac vice in Illinois, Ohio, and the United States Court of Federal Claims.

Ms. Paine received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Mathematics from Albion College and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She received her Juris Doctorate from MSU College of Law and graduated Summa Cum Laude.

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11 comments on “How Do I Get My Ex To Stop Harassing Me?

    Thank you for this. I agree. The use of co-parenting communication tools (I of course recommend can in most cases be sufficient enough. In more extreme cases, inviting a professional to oversee such as a parent coordinator and/or attorney can help. Thank you for listing patience here…it is so crucial to all relationships. It is important to remember too that you may not like the person you have to co-parent with, but you do have to make an effort to communicate with them, its for the best interest of the kids. Cheers.

    Thank you for this information. I am a good father who has found himself in this situation for the past year; ever since meeting me fiance. I am currently seeking an attorney along these lines in the St. Clair County MI area. If you could possibly refer someone, I would appreciate it greatly. Thank you

    I have been subjected to numerous forms of harassment for three years. This includes texts to myself, my girlfriend, my adult children. My employees, my company website, and she has struck me on numerous occasions. Onetime she hit me over a dozen times in front of witnesses. The police of course arrested me. She now has assaulted her neighbor. I am afraid if I take legal action she will get worse. The police are under strict orders to only arrest men. What do I do?

    It sounds like you need a witness. Can you record these interactions using your cell phone? Clearly she should be hauled away for being physically abusive, and the Police should not be allowed to engage in such blatant gender bias.

    My exwife constantly harasses and calls all my employers,contacts, and hman resource departments, friends…she constantly spies behind my back on my life and constantly harasses my new wife.

    We have a problem my husband and I have been married 10 years his ex uses our address his last name credit card application comes to our house in her name bills ext. She started working on a law firm as server person she looked up if we have any legal or court problems and she has called to tell us what we have also she call our cell phones and insult us and even has said my husband is sleeping with her and he is next to me we are sick and tired of Her harassing us is there anything legal that we can do to stop her

    I’m the reverse I’m the one calling yelling begging asking why don’t u pay your child support why did u lie about your income why do u badger and constantly ask our 13 year old daughter the same questions who u accused me of manipulating and i never did or would I’m the one who got kicked and he went to jail and now claims self defense and got a restraining order put on me by the judge for no annoying calls is it not annoying he wont help me with our child and if I was so annoying why don’t u block me so i cannot call or text the daughter has her own phone which u he doesn’t help pay why do i constantly get contempt papers on me and he gets away w it .. if you would pay ur support help w the kid n make right w her i would never text or call .. its like he sets me up to get angry so i will text but then claims its annoying n files another charge on me…i wanna get along but hard when u find out about another affair every month i need to let it go !! Just move on hes never gonna help n hes always gonna lie i want to be amicable n b done w the hate

    Where are the answers to the above questions and request for help? My issues are all of the above. Sadly, I have been divorced for 12 years and our only child is now 16 and has decided to go live with his father in hopes to stop the harrashment. However, the man is still not happy. He has remarried for the 3rd time, has the child, and no longer pays child support. But, he still harrashes me legally. The most recent is that he has filed for divorce from me in a state that neither of us live. We have not been together in over 14years. WTF????? What can I do to stop the madness.

    Look at Proper Comm
    – a company that edits nasty emails! charges sender for length of original. I am just requesting judge to order this, restraining order agains abusive emails failed = this sounds like an answer to my prayers!

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