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

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Father has no rights
5 days 18 hours 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 »
Sliman
9 days 6 hours 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
1 month 10 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 »
Karen
1 month 22 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 »
kathy
2 months 22 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?

John
2 months 29 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 »
DDee
3 months 12 days ago

I’m a Mom who receives non stop harassment from Dad. I got 53 texts in two weeks. They just kept coming even though I never replied to a single one! All opinions about how I am parenting our shared child. Even AFTER I was awarded sole custody and the judge ordered no disparaging remarks and not a day goes by that I am not told how awful I am. Interested in this Proper Comm…or some type of mediator!

L.J. Burke
3 months 20 days ago
It all depends on how bad the harassment is. The main thing to remember is to try not to escalate the situation. You should also take a look in the mirror. Is there something you are doing that is causing your ex to exhibit this behavior? Sometimes we don’t see it. Ask a good friend who knows you for an honest assessment. Nothing gets resolved with yelling matches over the phone. If your ex is constantly calling, tell him/her to text you. There are texting services that keep track of your conversations and might be used in your court proceedings.… Read more »
7 months 19 days ago

Help

7 months 19 days ago

Help my wife is taking revenge in wrong mattersim ending ul in street making my daughter believe her and says u wont go out side

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