Dispute: I need to know if I can take any action (and/or what kind) against someone (I’ll call her Mary) who called me to abuse me because I stood up for what is right/a victim. Mary doesn’t really know me well to know what I stand for. When she first called and I answered the phone, she made sure I was the person she wanted to speak to. She started off by accusing me of something that is totally untrue which made me very angry. I then said to her that I don’t have to listen to this and hung up the phone. She called right back and I didn’t answer as I wasn’t prepared for this so she left a voice mail message and shot off a lot of accusations at me, and personal attacks which was very embarrassing to me, and my family. When the time ran out on voice mail, she called back again at which time my daughter answered the phone. She hung up on my daughter. I presumed she wanted to finish off her message. She therefore did not call back but send me a very nasty e-mail repeating some things she said on the voice mail message as well as a lot of lies. She had totally switched the whole issue around. Mary is supporting someone who coached her with all these accusations. This person who is a relative and knows me very well, and whom I did not support. I do have a copy of the voice mail message as well as the letter. All these attacks and accusations are very troubling and stressful to me. Please tell me how I can handle this.ThanksAB
Province/Territory relating to question: Ontario
I have not tried anything as I felt I needed time to think how to best handle this. My first thought was to see a family counselor but I wasn't sure if this issue is their area.
Hello:A family counselor may be an appropriate way to deal with this. I am not sure there is any solution you will find through the legal system.There are basically two routes you can take for legal action, in civil court or criminal court. With criminal court, you could make a complaint to the police, and they can investigate or lay a charge, but there is no charge for a person making a one phone call and a text and being verbally abusive to you. If you or your family or property were threatened with violence, that could be a criminal charge. If calls continued and were harassing, that could also be a criminal charge. So from what you have described so far, I do not see any basis to go to the police. You can also proceed to civil court, to try to get an injunction or restraining order that this person cannot contact you or your family. If the contact is limited to one angry phone call and a text, you would likely not succeed. If this behaviour continues, you could succeed. For a civil restraining order, you need only prove that the contact is unwelcome and that is disturbing to you, but there does not need to be any threat or a criminal level of harassment. If the untrue comments about you are repeated to others, you can also sue for libel or defamation of your reputation, seeking an order in civil court to prevent the comments from being repeated and to give you some compensation for any damage already done to your reputation. You cannot succeed in that claim if the comments are made only to you. Whether you want to prepare for civil or criminal proceedings, it is helpful if you can show very clearly that you told this person you do not want any further contact, or at least no further abusive contact, such as by sending this in writing and keeping a copy. That can be shown to the police or a civil court as proof that you made it known that you were not agreeable to having any further contact. If the extent of the behaviour from this person is limited to what you describe above, you may find that the legal system will be unable to do anything. The police and civil courts will not wish to get involved anytime someone has an argument with someone else. But if this persists or escalates, then you can take steps with criminal courts through the police, or by suing in civil court, or both. Law.Hut41037.174011956
with over 15 years experience.
Hi, Thanks for the reply. After speaking with someone today, please allow me to elaborate on my concern at this point. As per the previous communication, this someone happens to be my adopted daughter/niece (I’ll call her Suzy), and the victim, her husband (I’ll call him Jason). The accusation I mentioned above is “Why are you destroying your niece’s marriage”. Suzy had and affair which her marriage now ended in separation. She has two kids (ages 9 & 6). My extended family and I knew that Suzy was being unfaithful and we spoke with her about it (3 individuals including myself twice). We reminded her that she has two kids to think about. She was meeting a guy from NY and she mentioned that he has a good job and she will not have to work and he will take care of her etc. This is a married guy and he has a 3-year old girl. Her husband (I’ll call him Jason) said she had asked him if she moved to another country and took the kids if he will be okay with that. Suzy was using her work as an excuse that she was attending meetings at different locations to justify her one weekend away each month. Because Suzy had specifically mentioned to my daughter about her meeting someone on Facebook months earlier, so we felt it was time to give Jason some heads up about her relationship because she was listening to no one since kids were involved. We even said to her that she should not do what she is doing and that she should get out of the marriage if she is not happy. When her husband found out she was meeting this guy across the border when her so-called meeting should be in the Niagara area, he decided he was going alone to see if she was there. Our family thought it was not safe for him to go “alone” considering the situation so we accompanied him. We figured it could become a bad situation because there was anger involved. There was the concern about him meeting her there with another man, and also if he had to drive back alone and even her driving back alone could also be dangerous in every capacity. Now because words got back to her from someone whom Jason had trusted that we went along with him across the border and gave him heads-up about her, she became very angry at us and cut all of her extended families out. She never wanted us to see her kids whom we love dearly and they had always looked at my kids as good role models. She figured we would automatically support her because she is my blood relative and not Jason. I said to her that I was not going to compromise my integrity to keep her lies. She told too many lies and manipulation till it was unbearable. So now because she felt we didn’t stand by her, she went to her aunt (her mom’s sister whom I called Mary) who was never in her life, I don’t know her very well, she knows nothing that Suzy was doing, but she called me on April 29/12 and accused me by saying “I destroyed her niece’s marriage, and that she is my blood relative and that I should stick up for her”. And it’s become like a song that Suzy is singing to everyone and not telling the truth about what she did. She never takes responsibility for her actions but rather blame others.
Suzy is keeping away her kids from us and it’s unavoidable for us not seeing the kids because Jason has no other relatives here and when he has the kids he wants to bring them around. He is the biological father. The kids love us and we always look at what’s in their best interest. They are confused about Suzy keeping them away from us. That will continue to be a problem, hence resulting in other phone calls. Suzy and her aunt Mary are very unreasonable and are only looking at their interest by being vengeful and nothing in the interest of the kids. I understand the reply above but now that I said what the accusation is, my understanding is someone accusing another person of destroying a marriage is an offense. Mary has also accused me about wanting Jason’s father (who is not even in this country) and a lot of other accusations. Please clarify what I can do, or the same above applies. Thanks.
The above really applies. There is no offence for accusing someone of destroying someone else's marriage, but this could result in a civil lawsuit for slander or defamation of character. You would need to prove that the comets were made by this person knowing they were false, or at least that the person ws reckless about whether the allegations were true or not.
Hi, considering Suzy is my adopted daughter and if there is no reconciliation, does she have rights to my estate if she is not a recipient to any part of my Will? Thanks
If you have a Will, you could legally exclude Suzy from your Will. Her only legal recourse would be to apply after your death to try and prove that she is your dependent, and seek a court order that she receive some fair part of your estate as your dependent. If she is a not financially dependent on you at the time of your death, these should not be entitled to any part of your estate beyond what you choose to leave to her in your Will. You should discuss this situation with a lawyer drafting your Will as there are terms that can be included in the Will in such circumstances that can make it harder for someone to make a baseless claim, trying to falsely prove that they are financially dependent on you and so deserving of money from the estate. You can always amend a Will at a later date if circumstances change, such as if there is a reconciliation.