By Kristine J. Rea
Dealing with your ex-wife’s new boyfriend or husband is difficult enough, but what if you want to completely cut off communication with your ex’s significant other?
Divorced dads often ask Cordell & Cordell divorce lawyers if their ex-wife is allowed to have her boyfriend or husband contact them to arrange custody exchanges or discuss other details of the children’s lives. Sometimes these exchanges can be testy and confrontational.
So what options are available to you if you no longer want to deal with your ex-wife’s boyfriend or husband?
Child custody orders typically do not address contact with a third party unless the parties agree to the terms and want it placed in the order.
Family courts rarely have the ability to instruct a third party to act or not act a certain way; it is only the two parents who the court has jurisdiction over.
While the court most likely will not be able to order your ex’s boyfriend to do or not do something, a judge can order your ex-wife to not allow contact between him and the children.
However, this is only used in situations where the boyfriend’s behavior has an adverse impact on the children. A judge won’t prevent him from being around your children solely because you don’t like him; there has to be a threat to the well-being of your children.
Child Custody Laws:
If you feel that the boyfriend’s communications with you are harassing or threatening you then you are allowed to file for a protective order.
Where I practice, for behavior to be considered harassment it must be a continued course of conduct that goes unabated after providing notice to stop.
So a random text message making fun of you, though it may be inappropriate in content, would most likely not be considered harassment.
However, if he continues to send those texts several times a week after you have asked him to stop, they could be considered harassment. Also, if the message, phone call, email, etc., is threatening in nature, you may also qualify for a protective order.
Typically, the message must threaten bodily harm as opposed to a threat of some non-violent non-physical action. “I am going to hit you” would be an example of threatening behavior, but not “I am going to tell your children that you are a bad person.”
While both are clearly wrong, only the threat of bodily harm is usually covered by a protective order.
It is strongly advised to identify a mens divorce lawyer in your state to discuss standards for custody modification and whether based on the facts and circumstances of your case, your ex-wife’s boyfriend’s actions rise to the level that would trigger a modification or order of protection.
Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide. To schedule an appointment with a divorce attorney, including Maryland Divorce Lawyer Kristine J. Rea, please contact Cordell & Cordell.