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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26 Comments on "How Do I Get My Ex To Stop Harassing Me?"

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James Bacon
2 months 11 days ago
I have joint custody and my exwife refuses to let me see my daughter, I haven’t seen her in 3 years and over that time period, I have taken police escorts to my daughter up but the police couldn’t force her to follow the visitation order, ive also had access and visitation programs contact her and she told them she would not comply, ive tried contacting her on facebook and she threatens to file harassment charges on me and file a restraining order, I pay 620.00 a month in child support for one child in Georgia and I don’t know… Read more »
3 months 7 days ago
I too have similar issues, but perhaps over a longer period of time. Try to bare with me as I explain. My daughter is now 16, almost 17. When she was born, mom did everything to prevent me from seeing my child. After 4 years of hunting and trying to find them, I finally located them. We, as young parents with no money, tried having an agreement outside of court regarding visitation. That was an epic fail. This was basically mom still having ALL authority, my child calling me Bob as to “not confuse her”, but when she turned 7… Read more »
2 months 26 days ago

Never give up get a better lawyer karma will get her

4 months 13 days ago
I have a 14 year old daughter with my ex-husband and he has physical custody but we have joint legal custody. Whenever our daughter is with me there are constant phone calls and texts as to where we are and what we are doing. There are also demands that I not take her to this place or that place and that I need his “permission” to do things like take her to a nail salon or hair salon. He is constantly reminding me that he has physical custody and everything I do with our child has to be approved by… Read more »
5 months 8 hours ago
I stayed with my wife for the sake of our daughter for years in a hostile relationship. I did whatever I could to keep the peace. I slept on the floor for years and helped to support our daughter every chance I could. We tried counseling and it was suggested that we do a trial separation or divorce after 6 months with the counselor. Immediately my wife got upset and suggested the counselor did not know what they were talking about and demanded we start over. Wife and I worked on the divorce paperwork and had everything complete over a… Read more »
Father has no rights
5 months 3 days ago
I am a divorced father of a wonderful 12 year old girl. I met my ex-wife when she was just leaving an abusive relationship. She was previously divorced. At the age of 17 she ran away from home as she had parents who could care less about her. Our relationship was rocky from the beginning and she was always very controlling. I married her thinking I could make things better for her. It only got worse especially after our daughter was born. I worked two jobs to support her while she was pregnant and then when she stayed home to… Read more »
2 months 24 days ago

I’m going through the same thing. Is there any way we can talk?

5 months 7 days ago
Hi! My husband and I live in a some what rural area and we only have cell phone service, no home phone. Sometimes, well most of the time our best form of communication is through texting as we usually do not have a signal strength good enough to carry out an actual phone call. His ex-wife and her live in boyfriend have decided she will no longer be receiving, accepting, nor replying to any text messages and she will only communicate with my husband in person or through a phone call, solely because she states shes unable to know if… Read more »
Christian Passen
6 months 8 days ago
Hello, I am a single father of an almost 5 month old little girl. The mother and I are not married or together and I filed a parenting petition with the court with in 2 weeks of the baby being born. The reason for the delay – when the baby was born, their were complications at birth which resulted in the child being immediately transferred to another hospital with the appropriate resources to provide immediate care. At the time, I followed the ambulance to the hospital and stayed with the child until she was approved to be transferred back to… Read more »
6 months 20 days ago
So what do you do when it’s the other way around? My ex husband has been harassing me since he walked out. He left me and the kids, fine keep going! But after I filed for divorce he began bombarding me with emails and texts almost daily. While he’s not outright threatening all the time he just refuses to back off. He sees the kids, we’ve gone to court but he keeps pushing to have his way despite what the court order states. I’ve talked to lawyers, counselors and they all seem to say there’s nothing I can do except… Read more »
7 months 21 days ago

I have been divorced for 12 years. Our kids are grown. I need my ex to stop showing up at my family functions. Don’t I have the right to visit my family without his presence? I do not go to his, but our children think i should just let him come and be fine with it. If i were “fine” with him, i wouldn’t have divorced him. There was a lot of abuse from him. What is right?

7 months 27 days ago
I am divorced, and our divorce was settled in an agreement rather than decided by the court itself. The kids were in her primary custody and I had visitation. Through some events where my ex was not able to care for the kids for a while, I was given full custody. She constantly puts down my parenting, and threatens vague “legal action”, or to “take notes” – basically extortion. She has called police a couple of occasions where she invented an emergency. The most recent, the cop who came to my door (and of course found nothing wrong – kids… Read more »
2 months 26 days ago

Block her and get a lawyer and get an injunction and notify the courts that way she will stop before it gets worse and also record everything especially if she’s nearby. She’s gonna try to get you locked up and in court.