Legal Harassment by Ex-Spouse

Relationships require work, but sometimes, no matter how hard you try, they don’t work out. The reasons for parting ways can be various. According to the recent survey of 191 Certified Divorce Financial Analysts, most people file for divorce because of basic incompatibility (43%), infidelity (28%), and financial issues (22%). 

We are taught to strive for marriage and have families, but statistics tell us that a great many marriages end up dissolving in court. The United States Census Bureau reports that in 2018, there were 7.7 new divorces for every 1,000 women aged 15 and over. The state with the highest divorce rates is Arkansas, while North Dakota is at the bottom of the list. 

Regardless of the reasons and rates, divorce is never easy, and sometimes it is a straight-up hellish experience. Complex by default, distressing, and emotionally charged, some divorces can end up in harassment and abuse that can continue long after you sign your papers. That’s why you should learn as soon as possible what can be done about your (soon-to-be) ex harassing you. 

What Is Considered Harassment From an Ex?

Many forms of harassment can be used by an ex-partner who wants to hurt you. Some of them are easily identifiable and punishable by law, while others might be trickier to recognize and technically legal. It is important to remember that harassment can occur before, during, and after a divorce. So, what does it mean when someone is harassing you?

Verbal Abuse

If your relationship is falling apart, the chances are there will be tension and conflict. Heated discussions and raised voices are somewhat expected, but some quarrels can escalate even to the point of physical violence. 

Verbal abuse is more intense than what standard break-up arguments imply. The most important difference is intention. If your ex purposefully talks to you in an insulting or belittling way, and this leaves significant psychological and emotional damage, you might be experiencing harassment. The most common examples are:

  • Yelling followed by insults
  • Attacking your self-esteem
  • Getting angry in a frightening way
  • Making threats to hurt you or your loved ones
  • Making threats to self-harm
  • Using phrases like “If I can’t have you, no one else will.”
  • Humiliating you in front of other people

More Serious Examples of Harassment by Ex-Spouse

Verbal abuse can have severe consequences for the victim, but since it doesn’t leave visible physical results, it is not easy to prove. If your ex makes threats of physical violence or hurts you, harassment claims grow much more substantial. This example extends to sexual harassment, which often exists alongside physical violence in relationships. 

Other instances of harassment that your ex-spouse might use against you are:

  • Releasing or threatening to release intimate photos and videos
  • Using tracking devices or phone location apps to keep an eye on you
  • Calling your employer to try to get you fired
  • Harassing your new partner
  • Spreading gossip and hurtful remarks about you, in person and online 
  • Making never-ending harassing phone calls, usually at most inconvenient times

Online Harassment by an Ex

Even once you’re done with your partner, be it through divorce or break-up, harassment sometimes doesn’t stop. In this day and age, it is difficult to stop all contact with someone because of social media. There are numerous reports on Reddit about the horrible scenarios your ex can put you through via the internet.

From sending unsolicited messages to spreading lies and false accusations to other people, cyberstalking is a dangerous and diverse form of harassment, and it’s becoming more and more common. 

Ex-Spouse Harassment Laws

Not every abusive behavior between partners is punishable by law. Actions that might be considered harassment have to be repetitive and made intending to hurt the target or cause distress and alarm. Depending on the scenario, there are several legal options that can protect you:

Harassment Type

Law

Punishment

Cyberstalking

Violence Against Women Act of 2005

General harassment by an ex-spouse

State legislation (e.g., Illinois Harassing and Obscene Communications Act)

  • Injunction against harassment
  • 6–12 months in jail
  • A fine of up to $2,500

When it comes to legal protection, the best advice is to research your state laws as most protection is available on that legislation level.

How to Stop Harassment From an Ex with DoNotPay?

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If you need help with stopping a stalker ex, DoNotPay can help. Our goal is to make dealing with harassment as easy and convenient as possible. Victims of harassment by their abusive partners before, during, and after a divorce or break-up suffer from various issues that can affect their mental and emotional health. 

If someone experiences verbal and physical abuse or receives online threats and unwanted contact requests, they usually feel disoriented and confused. Researching the best answer to that problem can take time and cause additional stress. With DoNotPay, help is on the way with just a few clicks:

  1. First, sign up on DoNotPay’s website via your web browser or get the iPhone app
  2. Once you log in, go to Relationship Protection
  3. Start a conversation with the chatbot
  4. When prompted, select Safety and Stalking
  5. Answer all the questions the chatbot asks and provide any additional info you find essential for your case

Depending on your specific situation, DoNotPay’s virtual legal team will choose the most appropriate course of action. In case you’re dealing with an in-person harasser, DoNotPay will provide you with a custom-made cease and desist letter, demanding an immediate stop to all actions related to the harassment. If your ex-spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend harasses you online, DoNotPay will reach out to social media representatives, who can report and block the perpetrator. 

More Actions to Consider if Your Ex Is Harassing You

A cease and desist letter should do the trick to stop the harassment from your ex-husband or ex-wife. As additional protection, you might consider doing something of the following:

  1. Avoid them
  2. Tell your friends and family
  3. Record all instances of abuse
  4. Don’t respond if and when they try to reach you
  5. Create a new email filter or social media account
  6. Block their phone number
  7. Don’t retaliate no matter how much you’re provoked
  8. Keep interactions as short as possible when they’re required

One more thing—if you ever feel like your immediate safety or safety of other close people is in danger, do not hesitate to call 911. Even if you need to take your ex to court for harassment, ensure that you will live long enough to see yourself win the case.

See What Else DoNotPay Can Do for You!

Besides dealing with stalkers, DoNotPay has developed other solutions to various issues you might be experiencing daily. There are too many administrative and legal issues that take too much time and energy. The goal of DoNotPay is to fight those battles for you. You are several mouse clicks or finger taps away from making those problems disappear in an instant from the comfort of your home.

To start cleaning up some of those issues, go to DoNotPay in your web browser or download the iPhone app. Check out some of the options you can find in there: