The Fine Print – My Ex is Driving Me Crazy

“Dear Attorney,

My soon to be ex is driving me crazy with the snarky texts and emails to me about everything from money to the kids.  My ex has also gone so far as to actually lie about me to people. My ex sends text messages to our friends saying I am a loser, that I cheated with a co-worker, and even told the vet I abused the family dog.  My friends and family tell me to ignore it, but I need this to stop. I am afraid I will lose my job and my kids. Thanks.”   – Fed Up in Mint Hill


Dear Fed Up in Mint Hill,

Divorce is inherently a messy emotional endeavor.  I often have calls from clients after they receive text messages or emails, which clearly serve no purpose other than to create a conflict where one does not exist. My first word to my client … BREATHE!

When it comes to defamation, there is a difference between spoken and written words that are false.  “Libel” occurs when the false statements are printed, and “slander” occurs when the false statements are spoken.   Both libel and slander require a third person hear or see the false statements.  There are two primary defenses to defamation claims.  The first, if the statement is someone’s opinion then it’s not defamation. No matter how unfair the statement seems.  The second is that the truth is an absolute defense.

If you have an attorney, let the attorney know about the behavior.   He or she can contact your ex (or the opposing counsel, if there is one) to demand the false statements and negative comments to others immediately stop.  Often receiving a letter from an attorney is enough to make the former spouse realize there could be consequences to their actions. Remember everything you write will eventually find its way into court during the divorce proceedings.  So be careful with your words.

You should also speak with your friends, family, co-workers, and employer to let them know that you are taking steps to stop the toxic communication. Tell them they can block a cell phone number and an email address, so they are no longer caught in the middle between you and your ex.

Conflict in divorce is unavoidable.  The hard part is consciously choosing how to respond to the communication from the other side and maintain your sanity.

Jennifer L. Fleet, Esq. is an experienced family law, civil litigation, and appellate law attorney at Weaver | Budd, Attorneys at Law.  To schedule a consultation with her, please call (704) 841-0760. The information contained in this article is general in nature and not to be taken as legal advice, nor to establish an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Jennifer L. Fleet or Weaver | Budd, Attorneys at Law.

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