How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask RobertJDFL Your Own Question
RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13878
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
Type Your Legal Question Here...
RobertJDFL is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I just received a disgraceful 5 page letter from my

Customer Question

I just received a disgraceful 5 page letter from my estranged father in the mail I have not spoken to him in 3 years due to his violent and abusive nature I have blocked his email, changed my cell phone number, and not responded to any of his attempts to harass me I would like to know what can be done from a legal standpoint to get the message across that I do not want any commuication with him and I want him to stay away from myself and my young children
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: MA
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: No there is a long long history of abuse on his end but it has never been reported unfortunately
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I would just like him to cease all contact immediately are you connecting me to a MA lawyer?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 2 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney and look forward to helping you. I am reviewing your question and will reply back shortly.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 2 months ago.

Good afternoon,

I'm sorry to hear about what happened. However, right now, I have to say that from a legal standpoint, there's not much you can do because it was just one letter after 3 years of no contact.

If the harassment continues, such as him calling, writing, emailing, texting, etc., especially after you make it clear that you want him to stop, you could pursue a harassment protection order against him - a protective order from the court that legally tells him to stop harassing you or potentially face criminal charges; you could even file a police report. The reason you cannot do these things now is as I said, it was one letter after no contact from him for years, so it doesn't yet rise to the legal definition of harassment, which is a substantial, ongoing, continuous pattern of harassment done to cause fear, abuse, intimidation, etc. For example, to get a harassment protection order in Massachusetts, a person you are trying to get the order against must commit 3 or more acts against you.

One thing you could try now is having a local attorney draft a "cease and desist" letter to your father, making it clear that you no longer wish to hear from in any way, shape or form and that any ongoing contact from him may result in you filing civil and/or criminal actions against him to the fullest extent of the law. You know your father best obviously and would know if such a letter would only "fan the flames" and make things worse, but sometimes, a strongly worded letter from a lawyer threatening potential legal action is enough to make people back off.

Please let me know if I can clarify anything or provide additional information.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Is there anything else I should do to document this sort of irrational behavior? Obviously there has been an extensive history of this sort of thing with him and I'm kicking myself now for not taking action sooner. Should I file a police report? Is a cease and desist enough to show that his contact was unwanted if things were to progress and I would someday have to go to court?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 2 months ago.

A police report really wouldn't do anything unless he threatened you and put you in fear of immediate harm (e.g., if he lives 500 miles away, a statement that he was going to hurt you doesn't carry as much weight as if he lived around the corner). A cease and desist is fine -and honestly not even necessary if you just want to be able to show that you have told him to stop contacting you. You can simply tell him that yourself and demand he stop contacting you. The only reason I proposed a cease and desist is that a lawyer's letter can as I said sometimes make people sit up and pay attention.

You might keep a file of any contact he has with you from this point on if you think it will continue -save the emails , letters, etc., because if you do end up filing for a protective order, for example, those will be helpful to show a pattern of ongoing harassment.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 2 months ago.

Please let me know if I can clarify any information or provide you with more information. If I have fully answered your question, I would ask that you leave a positive rating for me at this time by clicking on the stars at the top of the page so I am credited for my time and assistance by the site. Thank you.