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Be Careful About Sending Text Messages to An Ex-Spouse It Could Be Considered “Cyberstalking”

Text messaging can be a good way for ex-spouses to communicate with each other about certain topics, such as the practical details of child custody. Text messages are short and quick, and they can be less likely to lead to extended arguments than a phone call.

On the other hand, sending repeated text messages to an ex-spouse, ex-lover or ex-partner can sometimes be considered harassment – especially if the texts are insulting or have a threatening under- tone. Sometimes, repeated texting can result in a restraining order…or even criminal charges.

Consider Florida’s statute on “cyberstalking”….

d) “Cyberstalk” means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.”

(FLORIDA STATUTE 784.048(1) (d))

Stalking is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine or imprisonment. If the stalking is accompanied by a “credible threat” it is a felony. You can get an injunction to prevent further stalking.

So it’s important to be careful about texting. If you feel that your ex-spouse is stonewalling you about your children or other important matters, it’s best to consult your lawyer to discuss the best way to handle the situation. And if you feel that your ex’s texting has become genuinely harassing, you should consult an attorney for advice or, if you feel imminently threatened, call the police.

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