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What Can I Do if My Spouse Is Harassing Me During Our Divorce?

 Posted on July 18, 2019 in Divorce

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Going through a divorce can be hard on everyone involved, especially if one spouse did not see it coming or does not want to separate. In many cases, one spouse has made the decision to divorce in order to get out of an unhealthy relationship, whether it be due to abuse, addiction, infidelity, or other reasons. Unfortunately, there are cases in which one spouse may try to intimidate the other spouse into staying in the marriage. This can include harassment or stalking, either in person or by electronic means. If these actions make a person feel unsafe or uncomfortable, he or she has legal rights and options to stop this threatening behavior and finalize the divorce as smoothly and as quickly as possible. 

Illinois Harassment and Stalking Laws 

Harassment is defined under Illinois law as conduct which is not necessary to accomplish a purpose that is reasonable under the circumstances, but that causes a reasonable person emotional distress. Harassment can include making an obscene or indecent comment or request with the intent to offend, threaten, or annoy another person. Harassment is a criminal offense, and a first conviction is considered a Class B misdemeanor, and it can result in up to six months in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500. The second conviction is a Class A misdemeanor with a possible one-year jail term and a fine up to $2,500. Stalking occurs when someone watches or follows the victim on at least two occasions, and this causes the victim to feel that his or her safety is somehow at risk. Stalking is considered a Class 4 felony in Illinois, punishable by up to three years in a state prison and/or a fine up to $25,000.Aggravated stalking results in bodily harm to the victim and is a Class 3 felony. Aggravated stalking may also include restraining or confining the victim or violating a protective order or injunction. Aggravated stalking can be punished by up to five years in a state prison and/or a fine up to $25,000.While harassment and stalking are commonly thought of as unwanted contact in person, it is important to realize they can also occur electronically through phone calls, text messages, mail, email, or social media sites. 

Taking Legal Action 

Many people may not realize they can take legal action to end stalking or harassment during a divorce. If one spouse‚Äôs actions cause the other spouse to fear for his or her own safety or for the safety of his or her child, the victimized spouse can obtain an order of protection. This order requires the offender to stop any more harassment and prohibits him or her from contacting the other spouse in any way. If a person has committed physical or verbal abuse, or if he or she has illegally eavesdropped on the other spouse using electronic devices or software, it is possible to press criminal charges against him or her. In these cases, it is important to seek legal counsel to understand the next steps to take when proceeding with divorce and securing a safe and healthy future. 

Contact a Cook County Order of Protection Lawyer

Divorce can be difficult in many ways, especially if your spouse is harassing or stalking you. If you feel as if you or your child are in immediate danger, you need to call the police. Next, you should seek legal guidance. Our conscientious Oak Park family law attorneys will work hard to make sure you have the protections you need during your divorce proceedings. The law firm of Wakenight and Associates, P.C. has over 95 years of combined experience, and we can help you finalize your divorce and move on with the next chapter of your life. To schedule a free consultation, call 708-848-3159 today. 




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