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What to Do If Your Ex's Lawyer Is Harassing You

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

Some lawyers are as annoying, pedantic, and greedy as every lawyer joke suggests. Unfortunately, as a result, for unrepresented parties, persistent or aggressive attorneys can often be mistaken as bullies or harassers. What's worse though, is that, sometimes, attorneys cross over the line of acceptable persistence and aggressiveness.

For lawyers and non-lawyers alike, knowing when an attorney crosses that line of acceptable conduct generally is not too difficult, but does involve taking a step back and evaluating the conduct objectively. If you are directly threatened with violence, contacting the police is likely advisable. Broadly, however, how the harassing conduct is evaluated will vary depending on whether both you and the attorney are involved in an active case.

Harassment Outside Active Case

If the case between you and your ex is over, and there is no talk of a petition for modification of any part of your case, or any other legal dispute, your ex's attorney probably should not be contacting you. However, just making contact, particularly if it is professional or polite, will not be considered harassment unless it continues after a request to stop.

If the contact is unprofessional, lewd, or otherwise clearly harassing, you should seek to document the matter. Lawyers can be disciplined by their state licensing associations for unprofessional conduct, and all will generally accept complaints from the public about individual lawyers. Additionally, if the harassment actually causes you damages, such as emotional distress, panic, anxiety, or fear, you may be able to bring a civil tort action against the attorney.

Active Divorce or Custody Cases

If you are represented by an attorney, another party's attorney should not be contacting you for any reason, unless permission has been given. In this scenario, you should contact your own attorney so that they may deal with the opposing attorney's offensive conduct.

If you are not represented, then your ex's attorney may need to contact you regarding an active case. Generally, you may set the method of contact and communication, so long as it is reasonable. For instance, you may request that all communications be made by email, however, due to some courts' requirements, some phone calls and verbal discussions may be required. Typically, so long as an attorney focuses their discussions and contact on a case, even if they are just generally rude, it will not be considered harassment. If an attorney is making lewd comments, threatening violence or arrest, then legal taking action may be necessary.

If you believe an attorney is using the legal process to harass you, there are legal claims such as abuse of process or malicious prosecution that may be able to help.

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