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Wishing Harm To A Person Does Not Warrant The Issuance Of A Domestic Violence Restraining Order

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2016 | Divorce & Family

In order to receive a domestic violence restraining order under NH RSA 173: B, the person seeking the restraining order must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he/she was abused. In Hurley v. Hurley, an ex-wife sought a restraining order against her ex-husband, predicated on the ex-husband’s text message. In the text message, the ex-husband stated “wish you would die in a fiery crash”. Recognizing that the ex-husband’s text message may well be regarded as reprehensible, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ultimately concluded that the text message did not constitute abuse as defined by the Statute and ruled that the ex-wife was not entitled to a domestic violence restraining order.

While the Supreme Court’s decision is instructive as to what constitutes abuse, it is important for parents to understand that such improper communication with their ex-spouse could have other consequences. By way of example, continued inappropriate communications such as indicated in this decision could result in the divorce court from issuing a martial restraining order under NH RSA 458 or put further restrictions on parenting in order to address the improper communications. It is essential in raising children post-divorce/separation that the parents learn to communicate effectively and in the children’s best interest. The harm from such communication is far reaching, not only to the person to whom the communication is directed, but to the children as well.

If you have any questions regarding post-divorce/separation communications, please do not hesitate to contact an attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan to discuss. The attorneys at Hamblett & Kerrigan have experience in handling such situations. Let Hamblett & Kerrigan use their experience to your advantage.


Kevin P. Rauseo is a former director at Hamblett & Kerrigan P.A. and has since been appointed as a Justice for the New Hampshire Circuit Court.  Please feel free to contact another attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan to discuss your legal issues.