Bloomington Family Lawyer
What Constitutes “Cyberstalking” During Divorce?
Most Americans spend a significant portion of their lives connected to the Internet, engaging with social media and drafting electronic communications. As a result, it can become instinct to simply type away into a search bar any time one has a question about anything at all. And while this easy access to information can be truly beneficial in a number of ways, it can also lead to knee-jerk decisions that can land a person in serious legal trouble. Should you find yourself in this position, contact a Bloomington, Illinois family lawyer from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols for legal advice.
During the aftermath of a breakup or divorce, it can be instinctual to check up on how your former romantic partner is doing. This is an understandable reaction to the transition of moving from couple life to single life. And unless you are bound by specific terms of a protective order, simply looking up your ex on social media or Google on rare occasion is not going to cause you any legal trouble. But if you start checking up on your ex with unreasonable frequency, hack into your ex’s social media or email accounts, harassing your ex, etc. then you could face some legal consequences for taking a natural instinct too far.
Evidence Gathering vs. Cyberstalking
The wealth of information online can actually be helpful in some divorce cases. For example, if your spouse insists that all of his or her assets have been disclosed but then posts a picture of a vacation home you have never seen before, this post may prove valuable. You can alert your Bloomington family lawyer to the possibility that your spouse has been hiding assets and that it may be worth looking into the likelihood that he or she has been withholding information from the court.
However, it is not generally a good idea to obsess over your ex’s social media presence and accounts in search of incriminating evidence. If you stumble across some during the course of reasonable web surfing, by all means alert your Bloomington family lawyer. But be wary of “checking up on” your ex too often or in ways that violate reasonable expectations of privacy. Heading down that slippery slope could lead to cyberstalking behaviors.
At its most basic, cyberstalking is the act of using electronic means (the Internet, texts, social media, email, etc.) to embarrass, intimidate, harass or threaten somebody. When in doubt about whether a certain activity may be considered cyberstalking, don’t do it. If you are concerned that your spouse’s activities may impact your divorce, it is better to alert your Bloomington family lawyer and have your legal team handle it than risk the consequences of being perceived by a judge as a cyberstalker.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you have questions about communicating with your spouse during divorce, electronic behavior during this process or any other issue related to the legal side of ending your marriage, please consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced family law attorney. You have a number of both rights and responsibilities under the law during your divorce process and it is important to be well informed about both. Once your Bloomington family lawyer is able to learn about the details of your situation, he or she will be able to speak with you about the legal realities of your circumstances and help you craft a strong legal strategy moving forward.
How to Deal With a Difficult Ex-Spouse
If your ex-spouse is being difficult after the divorce, know that you’re not alone. The lawyers at Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols see many ex-spouses have ill feelings toward each other. While it might seem impossible to be civil with your ex-spouse, understand that you can take certain steps to make the situation better. Here is some advice on how to deal with a difficult ex-spouse:
Give Yourself 24 Hours Before Responding to Your Ex’s Messages
If your ex-spouse sends you nasty email or voicemail, it’s tempting to give him or her a piece of your mind. However, you should avoid doing this. Screaming and yelling at your ex-spouse will just make you angrier and give your ex-spouse undeserved attention. Instead, allow 24 hours to go by before responding to your ex’s messages. This will give you time to calm down and think about what you actually should say.
Avoid Putting Your Children in the Middle
One of the worst things you can do is put your children in the middle of you and your ex-spouse’s problems. This will make them feel extremely uncomfortable. No matter what, avoid speaking poorly about your ex in front of your kids. Continue to reassure them that both you and your ex-spouse love them dearly and want the best for them.
Limit Face-to-Face Contact
If you and your ex-spouse have difficulties speaking to each other without getting into fights, it may be best to limit face-to-face meeting as much as possible. If you have to talk to your ex about something, try to do it through the phone or email.
Realize That You Can’t Change Your Ex-spouse
It can be extremely frustrating dealing with a difficult ex-spouse after your divorce. He or she disagrees with everything you say, screams at you for no reason and is generally miserable to be around. While it would be nice to be able to change your ex-spouse’s ways, understand that it isn’t realistic. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can move on.
Focus on Yourself
It’s easy to talk and think about ex-spouse right after you get divorced. However, this can be emotionally draining and prevent you from living a happy life. It’s better to focus your efforts on improving yourself and making yourself happier.
Consider Talking to a Therapist
If you are having trouble getting over your ex-spouse or dealing with his or her actions, you may want to think about speaking with a professional therapist. A counselor can help you come to terms with your issues with your ex so that you can move on.
Putting up with a difficult ex isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t have to be miserable. If you have any additional questions about dealing with your ex-spouse, the lawyers at Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols can help. We have dealt with dozens of cases similar to yours and are ready to assist you. Call us to schedule a meeting.
When a Spouse Violates an Order of Protection
If you were being abused by your partner or felt you were truly at risk of suffering abuse, you might now have an order of protection in place to prevent him or her from contacting you. In Illinois, there are multiple types of order of protection, each of which is designed for specific circumstances. But they all serve the same purpose: to protect individuals from suffering from physical, sexual, and psychological abuse at the hands of their intimate partners.
If an individual named in an order of protection violates that order, he or she is subject to criminal charges. Discuss these with your Bloomington family lawyer before you take action against your former partner.
What Are My Options?
You have two options if your former partner violates the order of protection you have in place. They are:
- Contact the civil court to have the judge enforce your order of protection. The court can require that he or she avoid contacting you in person or electronically, that he or she surrender any firearms he or she owns, that he or she remain an allotted distance away from you, your home, your place of work, and any other property you own at all times, or that he or she only contact you for peaceful, necessary purposes like the transfer of your child for his or her parenting time.
- Filing a police report. If your former partner is charged with a crime, such as stalking or intimidation, he or she could face criminal penalties. These penalties can include fines and jail time. He or she might also face issues with his or her parenting time agreement.
Issues to Consider with Your Order of Protection
If you had an order of protection issued in another state, that order of protection should be valid in other states. Check with your Bloomington family lawyer to make sure your order is valid in the state you are in now if it was originally issued by another state. To prove its validity, keep a copy of the order with you at all times. If you need to prove to police that you have an order of protection in place, you can make use of this document.
An order of protection created in Illinois is also valid if you move to another state. If you move out of Illinois, inform the local law enforcement in your new town of your order of protection so they are aware of it in the event they need to enforce it.
How to Modify a Child Custody Agreement with a Troublesome Ex-Spouse
When a couple divorces, there are many issues that need to be decided. If they have children, then the most important decision to be made is how they will share custody of their children. There are several ways that a couple may come up with a solid parenting plan. If you are going through a divorce and will need to establish a parenting plan, consider contacting a Bloomington, Illinois family lawyer from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols for assistance.
Depending on the relationship of the couple and how much acrimony exists between the two of them, they may be able to come up with an agreement in private discussions with each other. If that isn’t possible, then a custody agreement may be able to be reached by negotiation, along with their Bloomington family lawyers. If they are still not able to reach an agreement, then the family court judge will make that decision based upon evidence each side presents during a child custody hearing.
Regardless of how the agreement is reached, the final decision must be approved by the court, where it then becomes the child custody agreement between the parents.
Issues that should be included in the custody agreement include the following:
- Where the child will live
- How parenting time will be divided between parents
- Birthday schedules (including the child’s birthday and each of the parents)
- Holiday schedules
- Vacation schedules
- How will major decisions for the child be handled (i.e. medical treatment, religion, school)
- How will disputes between the parents be handled
Although there may have been much thought and negotiation that went into coming up with your custody agreement, the truth is that life is constantly moving, and it sometimes becomes necessary to make changes to the custody agreement to address some of those life events.
Examples of reasons for requesting a child custody modification include the child is changing their primary residence from one parent’s home to the other parent’s home, one parent has developed a substance abuse issue and there is concern for the child’s safety, or one of the parents are moving out of state and parenting time schedules will need to be changed.
How Do I Request a Modification?
Modification to a child custody agreement can only be made with a judge’s approval. If you are seeking a change in your custody agreement, your first step should be contacting a Bloomington family lawyer who will be able to evaluate the evidence and reasons for the change. The lawyer will prepare a petition to modify custody which will be filed in the same court that issued the original order. The other parent is also served with the petition.
The court will then set a hearing date where your Bloomington family lawyer will present the evidence to the court. The other parent will likely present their evidence as to why or why not they agree to the modification. The judge will review all the evidence and arguments and if the modification would even more beneficial for the child’s best interest than the current order, it is likely he or she will approve it.
Work with a Dedicated Bloomington Family Lawyer
If your former partner violates the order of protection you have in place to keep yourself safe from him or her, call the police immediately. You have the right to feel safe and protect yourself from abuse at a former partner’s hands. To handle the legal issues that can arise with your order of protection or other issues regarding your divorce, contact our team of experienced Bloomington family lawyer at Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols to schedule your free legal consultation with our firm. We can represent your case in court and help you reach a safe, productive resolution for your case. Turn to Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols when you need a family lawyer in Bloomington that you can trust.
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