On behalf of South Tampa Law Group posted in divorce on Monday, October 3, 2016.
Cyberstalking is an increasing problem in our digital age. To the victim, it can be as frightening as physically being stalked. It can also be a prelude to a physical attack.
Cyberstalking is an issue in many divorce cases. Stopping it can be difficult because the perpetrator may hide behind the anonymity of the Internet and claim, “It wasn’t me.”
What is cyberstalking?
Cyberstalking is the use of email, texts, tweets, posts and other types of electronic communication to threaten or harass another person. It may include posting or sending pictures.
If you are a victim of cyber stalking:
- Tell the person that you would like them to stop all communications.
- If you are going through a divorce, ask them to communicate with you only through your attorney.
- Save all communications from the perpetrator.
- If the behavior continues, report it to law enforcement.
- Contact service providers. For example, if a person is posting harassing tweets, Twitter may close the person’s account.
What should I do if I am stalked electronically?
Cyberstalking is illegal in Florida. You can obtain a restraining order if a judge believes you have been stalked electronically, and that you face an immediate danger from the behavior. The judge can issue you a temporary restraining order good for up to 15 days based on your own testimony alone. Before the order can become permanent, the other party would have a chance to defend himself or herself at a hearing.
Unfortunately, proving online harassment or stalking isn’t always easy. The perpetrator can claim that his or her account was highjacked. He or she may also harass you using an alias.
Attorney Chris E. Ragano frequently deals with issues such as domestic violence and stalking in divorce. He has extensive experience petitioning the court for restraining orders. He works with experts to expose the identity of person engaging in online stalking.
Cyberstalking can be used as grounds for divorce in Florida. Evidence of cyberstalking may also be a factor in the awarding of alimony or property.