Are there any laws that protect my wife from degrading verbal fits of outrage in public places by her ex-husband?

My wife’s ex-husband will at random depending on his mood get into screaming fits calling her names such as “whore” “bitch” “c*nt” to name a few, and occasionally, this has occurred in front of my stepdaughter who is now 6 years old. He would like for me to retaliate so that he could charge me with physical assault thus getting my professional nursing license revoked. I feel like my hands are tied.

Asked on August 22, 2011 North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It's *possible* that his behavior could constitute some form of harassment, child endangerment (if done in front of the step daughter), or even "terroristic threat," if he is making threats. You may be able to press charges on one or another basis; you may also be able to get a protective order against him. You should consult with a family law attorney, one who has experience with battered women, abusive spouses and ex-spouses, etc., since such an attorney should know both the laws in this area--and can evaluate with you how they apply to your situation--and should also know the "temperment" of the local authorities and how seriously they take matters like this, which, unfortunately, is a consideration--some jurisdictions or towns will take action, others will ignore behavior like this.


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