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

    President
    Thank you for this. I agree. The use of co-parenting communication tools (I of course recommend http://www.kidsontime.com) 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

    Harassment
    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.

    Mr
    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!

    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. KEEP YOUR COOL! Don’t do or say anything you will regret later. When I was going through my divorce my ex accused me of calling her 50-100 times a day. It was an easy fix, I gave all my phone records to the Guardian Ad Litem. If the ex crosses the line you may have to call the police. Hopefully it wont come to that. Remember one thing, It will get better with time!

    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!

    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 were fine, everything was fine), asked if I had a restraining order against her – he was not happy at being called out to check on us as he said essentially she was using the police to harass me.
    Our oldest will be an adult soon, but our youngest is years away from that, so I’m not real happy with the prospect of living with harassment for another decade. Anything I can do? I don’t really want to cause the kids’ mom undue trouble, but it’s not right that she’s harassing me either and I’m considering what to do next. Every time I see a new text come in it’s stressful.

    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?

    My daughters mother is calling me names in front of my daughter at every exchange… Today it was”fucking retard” we do our exchanges at a police station because she’s had me thrown in jail all charges dropped… No proof.. But wen it happens in front of the person at the cop shop(wittnes) I get cops involved… I gt told civil dispute go to court… As we all know courts R NOT HERE TO HELP… So I take my role in r court systems as a bad father… Something r courts has defined me as and made me out to b… Now to find the strength to keep going

    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 learn to deal with it. He’s under a no contact protection from abuse order so he can’t contact me for 3 years unless through email and only regarding the kids but he’s using that as a tool to keep up the harassment. ALL of his emails he includes his dad, his step mother, his lawyer, his girlfriend, my lawyer and then also a copy to himself. It’s ridiculous. I understand this is more a men’s forum and trust me guys my heart goes out to you…there are some seriously crazy women in the world. But does anyone have any advice on what to do against a crazy guy!?

    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 the previous hospital where her mother was recovering. However, prior to the baby being transferred back, the birth certificate was issued to the mother. The mother told the hospital that I wasn’t the father, left me off the birth certificate, and claimed to DHHS that I was not involved, and that she didn’t know who the father was. The hospital notified me immediately about the mother’s actions. As such, I paid (out of pocket) for a mobile unit to perform a DNA test. The mother was infuriated by this and began harassing both myself and various doctors. The results proved positive within 2 weeks time and I filed a parenting petition with the court and requested that my name go on the birth certificate. The mother ignored the court notices until I paid out of pocket again to have her served. She proceeded by responding to the service notice late and did not send me any paperwork prior to first appearance, (even then, she did not provide completed, accurate or notarized paperwork) its been 4 months and after mediation (another out of pocket expense) I just now managed to get my name on the birth certificate (once again, I had to pay out of pocket to do so). I am currently waiting on a pretrial date. All the while, the mother has dictated when I can see our daughter, and she has used our daughter solely as a bribe to receive favors from me. The mother was on probation for 2 DUI’s for 3 years. Her sentence ended last week. She has received state assistance because she lied about my involvement in the child’s life, she also claimed the child on her taxes under false description of circumstances, and she continues to use our daughter as leverage for getting her own way. My options up to this point have been, don’t give in and in turn go without seeing my daughter, or give in for the sake of seeing my daughter. It’s a lose lose scenario because the mother’s demands are getting more ridiculous by the day. She’s taking advantage of the court being a slow process. So much so, that she’s demanding I move in with her and marry her or I’m not allowed to see the baby. On one occasion she asked me to watch the baby so she could supposedly go into work and within an hour or so of having the baby, she threatened to call the cops on me for kidnapping. I contacted a lawyer and was told I had to bring the baby back to the mother because there’s currently no set parenting time schedule in place. DCYF opened an investigation but ultimately considered my case unfounded because the mother has a way of wearing a mask when she needs to and can be very convincing to a point where she may very well be considered having criteria met for a diagnosis of being narcissistic. During prenatal care, the Dr’s found THC in the mother’s blood (meaning she technically broke probation). Among a series of other details as well, my main point of concern is, how can I prove to the court that the mother is unfit, when the court (thus far) has made it very clear that the best interest of the child is to have both parents and a good parent has to demonstrate willingness to CO parent cooperatively and be willing to include the other parent? I requested 50/50 custody, for the sake of the courts expectations. However, realistically speaking, I would suggest that it is imperative that she has her rights removed immediately, or at the very least, be granted supervised visitation only. I feel the mother may have postpartum psychosis, in addition to being narcissistic, bipolar, an alcoholic, a known drug user, and a pathological liar with no more than a high-school diploma at 30 years old. I, on the other hand, am 25 years old, I have 2 bachelor’s degrees, and I am 1 year shy of also having a certification in teaching secondary English education grades 5-12. I currently hold certifications in: red Cross adult/child CPR/first aid, study skills/writing tutor status, safety care, and as a Registered Behavior Technician. I have a full time career-based job that offers health and dental benefits, I have a valid driver’s license and fully insured and working vehicle. I work a set schedule with flexibility to work from home up to 4 hours a week, PTO, vacation time and quarterly bonuses. I am available to care for my child and when i am not available due to working, I have access to resources and alternative care such as daycare, available immediate family members, and a wide range support network through work, church, friends and family.

    Thus far, no one has been able to hear me out on the full extent of my current situation, so please, if you can offer any advice or further direction on what steps to take, I’d greatly appreciate it.

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