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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Licensed to Practice Law
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I am being harassed by a defendant in a divorce in Virginia.

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I am being harassed by a defendant in a divorce in Virginia. He thinks i can substantiate his claim of adultery. He thinks his wife and I had an affair. He has contacted my friends and family telling his sob story and trying to get information from them about me and how to contact me. He has also called and emailed me several times but I have not answered. I do not want to be a part of this in any way. It seems like he should not be able to involve me or my family in his divorce. What are my rights? I want him to leave me and my family alone.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

If the husband thinks that you committed adultery with his wife, then he has the right to contact you and even subpoena you to testify as the divorce trial. However, adultery is a crime in Virginia, and that means he cannot force you to incriminate yourself by admitting adultery. You have a 5th Amendment right not to implicate yourself in a crime.

But the question is, can you make him stop calling and emailing? Unfortunately, the answer is generally no. If he were calling you numerous times every day and/or at inconvenient times such as late at night, then you could argue to the police that the man is harassing you. But assuming the husband hasn't gone that far, and simply called and emailed a handful of times, then I'm sorry to say that type of contact is lawful. If you believe that the husband is dangerous, however, then you can visit your local police department, file a report, and ask for the forms for a temporary restraining order so that a judge can order that he not make contact with you. At the hearing, however, you will need to explain how and why you believe that the husband is dangerous and/or threatening.

If I were you, I would likely talk to the man in order to explain that (1) you did not commit adultery with his wife, and (2) that you will testify that you did not commit adultery if asked about it in court. If, however, you are called to testify in court despite your warnings to the husband, then you obviously must tell the truth. If you did not commit adultery, then tell that to the judge. If you did, then refuse to answer on 5th Amendment grounds. Either way, the husband will not get what he wants. But in my opinion, the best way to get this guy off your back right now is if you speak to him, appease him, and make it clear that you had nothing to do with his wife and will testify about that if called to court. If the guy gets threatening, then file the police report and seek the restraining order. The police can help with the restraining order paperwork.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied. Also, your positive feedback is much appreciated.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I live in a different state- about 1000 miles away. I moved recently and I'm just not interested in the whole process of taking off work and traveling back for a court appearance.


 


What I'm reading is that I either need to reason with this lunatic or plan to book a flight and waste my money and time.


 


That seems wrong to me...? Does Virginia allow for an attorney to represent me at the hearing (in my place) if I simply intend to plead the 5th?

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hi again.

Q: Does Virginia allow for an attorney to represent me at the hearing (in my place) if I simply intend to plead the 5th?
A: No, that is not allowed. However, you could probably arrange to testify remotely (e.g., telephone).

But your choices aren't quite as limited. Yes, you can try to reason with him. Yes, you can book a flight and testify. However, you can also ignore him, tell him to get lost, change your email and phone number, etc. If he becomes threatening, then you can file for a restraining order. But if the guy is not threatening and is not truly harassing (e.g., he's not calling at 3 AM ten times a day), and if you're asking what legal action you can take to force him stop contacting you, then there isn't anything. Unfortunately, there are no laws that allow a person to choose who can and who cannot contact him. The law only prohibits extreme behavior that is threatening and harassing. It does not prohibit annoyances. If you just want the guy to leave you alone without having to talk to him, then I'd change my number and tell the phone company to block his number. I'd also change email addresses.

I know that's not quite what you wanted to read, and I really wish that I could say "just file such-and-such paperwork with the court, and he'll immediately have to stop all communication." Unfortunately, the law just doesn't prohibit communications from people who are merely annoying.

I am truly sorry to give you this bad news, but please understand that it would be unfair to you (and unprofessional of me) to provide you with anything less than an honest response. However, if your concerns were not satisfactorily addressed, then please let me know, and I will be happy to clarify my answer. I do ask that you rate me based upon whether I answered your question, and not based upon whether the answer was good news or bad news. Your positive feedback is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for using our service!
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 9695
Experience: Licensed to Practice Law
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