“Filing frivolous lawsuits, motions to reconsider and appeals has long been recognized as “vexatious litigation.” But only in recent years has it been recognized as “paper abuse” in the family law context.

Domestic violence advocates say this is a form of “coercive control,” a term coined by the sociologist and forensic social worker Evan Stark in a 2007 book by the same name, which explained how men entrap women into controlling and subservient relationships. Abusive partners — who are often, but not always, men — use a set of strategies, including not only violence, but manipulation, confinement, threats, surveillance, isolation and economic subordination.

When these relationships end, court is often the only way for abusive partners to maintain power over their exes. They will file motions seeking to change the terms of settled divorce or custody decisions as a means to extend interaction with survivors, disrupt their lives with court hearings or bankrupt them with attorney fees.”

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Shared via Law360, Story By Cara Bayles, Originally Published July 21, 2023