Domestic violence and emotional abuse are often contributing factors to the dissolution of marriages. Such behavior can also negatively affect the divorce process, making it difficult for victims to end their marriages amicably. Unlike physical abuse, the signs of emotional abuse are not visibly apparent, and sometimes, the abused spouse does not recognize that they are involved in an emotionally abusive relationship.
The most common signs of emotional abuse are:
Threats of physical violence
Humiliation or imposition of guilt
Controlling victim’s whereabouts and physical appearance
Possessiveness, often manifested by attempts to isolate victim from family and friends
Verbal abuse, such as name-calling and insults, often followed by apologies and praise
Financial control and manipulation
Sexual coercion to perform acts which make the victim uncomfortable
Withholding of love, affection, or sex from the victim
Manipulating the victim into thinking they are going insane by providing false accounts
Turning the children against the victim
Although a spouse may not realize that they are the victim of emotional abuse, the actions listed above can cause them to feel depressed and fearful, and are often the underlying reasons for separation or divorce. Once the victim leaves the abusive spouse or files for divorce, the abusive behavior may escalate, or the abusive spouse may attempt to keep the victim in the marriage by coercion.
Protect Yourself and Your Children
It is important to assert yourself and establish limits with the abusive spouse. Make sure you understand and agree to all terms of any agreement presented to you before signing it. Do not feel obligated to maintain constant communication with the abusive spouse and you should refrain from retaliation. It may be necessary to obtain a temporary restraining order or a temporary child custody order until the divorce is finalized.
Abusive spouses are at a disadvantage when it comes to child custody as judges consider the best interests of the child when devising a parenting plan. They will consider factors such as each parent’s physical and mental health, the child’s relationship with each parent, and each parent’s history of domestic violence.
Even if a child is not being abused, the judge will likely decide it is in the child’s best interest to not live with a parent who has exhibited abusive behavior. It is important to document instances of abuse such as text messages, emails, notes, voicemails, and other evidence that will be useful in court. This proof will increase your chances of obtaining custody and will help the judge make an informed decision regarding an appropriate parenting plan.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Represent Victims of Emotional Abuse in Divorce CasesIf you are the victim of domestic violence or emotional abuse, the Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help determine the appropriate course of action during this difficult time. We can assist you in drafting a parenting plan, and negotiate issues such as child custody, child support, and alimony. We represent clients throughout Maryland, including Towson, Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Carroll County, Columbia, Essex, Harford County, Howard County, Hunt Valley, and Westminster. Contact us online or call us at 443-589-0150 for a free, confidential consultation.