Even in the most amicable of divorces, difficulties in communication may arise during the process, requiring legal representation. It’s always best for both parties in a divorce to retain their own attorneys. In contentious divorces, when parties cannot come to mutually acceptable agreements on issues of who retains the family home, division of assets, child custody, and child support, the process becomes a complex period of negotiations, meetings, mediation, and challenging communication between ex-spouses. These types of communications are particularly difficult when they come at a time when both parties would rather not communicate with each other at all, or who may attempt to use these necessary communications to hurt or punish each other. But many divorcing spouses find themselves taken by surprise when their divorcing spouse’s lawyer calls them. What should you do or say when an ex’s lawyer calls?
Listen Carefully, Take Notes, and Say Very Little
If you’re in the process of a divorce and have a lawyer, your spouse’s lawyer should communicate with you only through your attorney. If the lawyer calls you directly, you always have the option to direct them to communicate only through your attorney. If you do decide to accept the call it’s important to remember the following points in order to protect your interests in the divorce agreement:
Take up a pencil and paper and listen carefully, taking notes to refer to later
Ask follow-up questions as needed, such as clarifying important dates, or understanding any motions that the spouse has filed
Write down your own answers as well as the questions so you can repeat them to your own attorney later
Keep your questions brief and limited to factual information only
Do not ask about your ex, their intentions, or their motives
Do not offer any information
Remain polite and business-like—remember, calls are often recorded
Avoid acting startled by new information
Do not agree to ANY terms without consulting with your attorney
If you find it particularly difficult to speak to an ex’s attorney over the phone, you can ask them to communicate with you only through email, or simply refer them to your own attorney. Here is a resource with commonly asked questions about divorce.
Call Your Colorado Divorce Attorney
After the call from the ex’s lawyer, you should contact your own divorce attorney. Use the notes you took to discuss the phone call with your divorce lawyer, being sure to report on your responses as well as the other attorney’s questions.
What if the Calls From an Ex-Spouse’s Attorney Become Harassment?
If you’ve asked an ex’s attorney to direct all communication to your lawyer and/or told them to stop calling you directly, a respectful and reputable attorney should do as you direct. If the attorney continues to call you in spite of your request to stop, it may constitute harassment. If the phone calls are unprofessional, argumentative, or aggressive, you should begin documenting them and report them to your attorney.
In some cases, harassment by a spouse’s attorney can cause you emotional distress. Doing this leaves them liable for a tort action against them for compensation for damages such as the stress, fear, and anxiety they’ve caused you.
If the attorney threatens violence or makes lewd suggestions, you should immediately report the call to the police and take legal action through your attorney.
Remember, it’s always best to have a skilled, reliable divorce attorney on your side to protect your interests throughout the entire divorce process. Contact our highly experienced team here.