Talker or Stalker?

What do you do if your ex insists on keeping track of everything you do and commenting on it, even after you’ve split up? Is this stalker behavior or just one way a person comes to terms with divorce? Jessica Anderson explains your options in her legal segment Love Court on the Alice 96.5 Morning Show.

The Context

A newly-divorced woman (let’s call her “Anne”) wrote to Jessica, asking her for advice on how to deal with a problem she was experiencing with her ex (let’s call him “X”). They have children together and they share custody, so they are still technically obliged to communicate with each other. But X kept sending Anne text messages that she felt were harassing her. She felt uncomfortable about the fact that, whether she was out with friends or on a date, X would send her messages commenting on her movements. She felt stalked, but she also knew she couldn’t simply cut ties with him because they still needed to talk to each other about the children. 

The Answer

What would you do in this situation? Jessica unpacks the issue by first explaining that it is a complex one. There are children involved, and both parents have a legal mandate to care for them. This implies that they must maintain some form of communication for the best interests of the children. So in essence, they cannot stop talking to each other.

On the other hand, the fact that X knows where Anne is seemingly every minute of the day violates her privacy, as it is possible he is tracking her through her phone. This looks a lot like stalker behavior, but it could also be that X is simply having a hard time letting go and adjusting to single life.

If you are in a similar situation, Jessica lays out the following options for you to take. 

Get a Court Order

You could get a restraining order for harassing and stalking, which would prevent your ex from approaching you or contacting you, but this is fairly hard to enforce when you have children together and you share custody. Things like the 100 yards rule might be difficult to mediate when you are dropping the kids off. 

Get a No-Contact Order with a Co-Parenting Platform Order

This is a more viable option, according to Jessica. You can ask a judge to give a no-contact order to prevent your ex from simply sending you harrowing messages whenever he likes. You can also ask the judge to order the use of a co-parenting platform, which will mediate your interactions and provide a buffer between you and your ex. 

Here are some co-parenting platforms to consider:

Our Family Wizard

This is an app created by a divorced couple. It has several unique features, but the one that stands out in this context is the ToneMeter. This add-on checks the messages you and your ex send to each other and points out negative tones which might result in an argument. It also suggests better ways to rephrase your words for a more positive outcome. 

Talking Parents

Similar to the first app, Talking Parents is a co-parenting app which offers a platform for parents to focus on raising their children. In this case, the feature that stands out is the ability to have a secure video call without showing your number to your co-parent. So, if you feel that your ex is crossing a line and not respecting your privacy or autonomy, this is a feature that can help you to maintain a certain degree of privacy. 

Divorce is never easy, especially with children in the mix, and the longer you have been together, the harder it is for you to separate the details of your lives from each other. This can cause you or your ex to feel and do some crazy things. The key is to remember that your children must matter more to you than whatever it was that caused you to split up. Patience and compassion should be your go-to, but if you or your children feel threatened by your ex’s behavior, tell someone immediately. This is the first step to staying safe.

If you need more information and want to come in for a consultation, then call 7754060305.