Can I get an order of protection or restraining order against someone for text messages?
In our world of technology, there are new means of harassment: text messages. Where is the line drawn between conversing and harassment? A seemingly harmless conversation can quickly take a turn and become combative in a hurry.
Text messages are super helpful for parents that are sharing custody but who refuse to talk to one another on the phone. However, does a parent have a right to repeatedly text and ask an ex-spouse about their children, or at some point do too many text messages cross a boundary? Many courts are now hearing cases with similar circumstances. Text messages are preferential to some judges because they keep a written history of communication between the two parties and are time-stamped.
A court in New Jersey recently had to rule on the issue of allowable text messages. The judge ultimately decided that, because threats were not made, the judge felt that non-custodial parent was not breaking any laws by repeatedly sending text messages and that it was not harassment. In other cases, judges have ordered that a weekly e-mail be sent to the non-custodial parent to provide an update on the children, their grades, and activities. Again, there is a written history of communication when e-mails are being used.
Order of protection and Restraining Order
On the other hand, if someone is sending threatening text messages and you are legitimately fearful for your safety, then you should contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss a possible order of protection. To obtain an order of protection, you must be able to prove that there is an imminent threat. If there is a history of violence or domestic abuse be prepared to provide that information as well. Many judges prefer to error on the side of caution when it comes to potential harm.
An order of protection or restraining order is not likely to be granted because someone is simply “annoying” you or because someone is sending you multiple text messages. There must be a threat or imminent danger in order to get an order of protection or protection order granted. Contacting an Arizona family law attorney may be helpful in determining if your case meets the threshold to get a protection order.
Please keep in mind, you must also be prepared to have your text messages scrutinized as well. If you are found to be engaging the behavior or behaving poorly yourself, then you are less likely to be granted the relief that you seek. Please be cautious when texting in anger as the messages could be used against you. Speaking to an experienced lawyer can help you determine the likelihood of the order being granted.