Getting a divorce is never an ideal time in one's life. What can make the process even more difficult is when one spouse harasses the other. Divorce is emotional and tempers can flare, but that does not mean harassment is warranted. Whether the harassment involves child custody, assets, or just inflicting pain, it can be problematic and can have negative impacts on a divorce settlement. If you have felt harassed by your spouse during your divorce proceedings, you need to know the following:
What Constitutes Harassment During Your Divorce?
Harassment is defined as any type of unwanted behavior towards another person. The behavior can be either physical or verbal in nature. The person who is harassed is generally left with feelings of distress, humiliation, and discomfort. If the harassment gets too bad, the person accused of the behavior can face criminal charges in most states. Each state treats harassment differently when it comes to legalities, but it often results in a misdemeanor charge as well as a restraining order.
Harassment during a divorce can occur when one person makes certain suggestions, threats, or comments the other person feels is violent or otherwise threatening. Outright threats of physical harm to the spouse or anyone in their immediate circle can also constitute harassment. Constant texts, phone calls, emails, or other forms of communication are also considered harassment if the content of those feels threatening to the recipient. Contacting a spouse's place of work with the goal of getting them in trouble can also result in a harassment charge. In addition, publishing menacing, embarrassing, or threatening content on social media about a spouse is also harassment.
How Does Harassment Impact a Divorce?
Not only does harassment come with legal ramifications, but it can also impact the results of the divorce. Cases of harassment can change child support and custody decisions. If a judge deems the behavior of a spouse as harassment and therefore dangerous, they could lose custody of their children or have reduced visitation. Property division and spousal support decisions can also be impacted.
Harassment is not something anyone wants to deal with but sadly is common when couples go their separate ways. If you believe certain communications with your spouse could be considered harassment, you need to consult with your divorce attorney. In cases of violent threats of harm, you also need to contact your local police. It could result in a temporary restraining order, which prevents your spouse from further direct contact.