Divorce is one of the most contentious experiences a person goes through, especially when it is an acrimonious split. Some people are scared about losing money or time with their children; others are upset with an ex for filing for divorce; others are just angry and hurt.
Any of these positions can create a volatile situation that could potentially lead to criminal charges if a person oversteps the line separating lawful interactions and illegal actions.
Criminal offences to avoid
In the context of a divorce, the line between lawful and unlawful exchanges can be especially blurry. After all, things that may have been appropriate during a marriage can be grounds for a call to the police during divorce proceedings.
However, generally speaking, it can be wise to refrain from:
- Repeatedly texting, calling or messaging the other person
- Posting personal pictures or intimate details of your relationship on public sites, including social media
- Showing up uninvited and unannounced at your ex’s house or workplace
- Contacting your ex’s friends, family or new partner
- Making verbal or written threats
- Following your ex or your ex’s family
These actions can result in criminal harassment, which can lead to incarceration and fines.
Parties should also avoid:
- Making false criminal accusations against an ex
- Destroying property, including marital property or property belonging to your ex or your ex’s family
- Preventing your ex from accessing or enjoying property to which they have legal rights
- Vandalising an ex’s car or home
- Tampering with an ex’s food, car, medication or other property to cause harm
These actions can trigger mischief charges resulting in jail or prison time, as well as fines.
Knowing what is at stake
A person accused of these behaviours not only faces possible legal consequences but also damage to their reputation, job loss, and potential restrictions on parenting time.
Thus, it is vital to steer clear of any of these actions.
That said, some of these allegations are based on subjective arguments, and emotions run high during events like divorce, which can cloud judgment. People disagree on what is acceptable behaviour, or they just want to punish their ex. As such, if your ex does accuse you of criminal harassment or mischief, you should prepare to defend yourself.