Many families are impacted by domestic violence, particularly young children who get caught in the middle. Eventually, the victim spouse may decide that enough is enough and finally file for divorce. Domestic violence includes any kind of violent or aggressive behavior in the home, which can lead to physical and/or emotional harm. When it is the abused spouse who files for divorce, it is important that they get help from a family law attorney for protection.
Not All Violence Leaves Physical Scars
Cuts, bruises, and other wounds are easily identified as proof that a person has been harmed. However, not all incidents of domestic violence leave physical scars. Behavior such as threats, abusing substances, sexual abuse, stalking, and controlling can also be categorized as domestic violence. Oftentimes, the abusive spouse will purposefully make the victim spouse feel as if they have nowhere to go and are unable to leave. The abusive spouse may instill fear so they can remain under control.
Heartbreakingly, many abused spouses are in denial about domestic violence, especially when there isn’t any physical harm. Here are common signs that you may be a victim of emotional domestic violence and should notify your attorney right away as your divorce process is moving forward:
- Constantly having mood swings towards you
- Telling you what you can and cannot do (clothing, what friends and family you can see, and controlling employment choices)
- Accusing you of doing things that you aren’t guilty of
- Being possessive
- Pressuring you to have intercourse or perform sexual acts
- Explosive temper and anger
- Checking your cell phone, social media, or email without permission
- Putting you down verbally
- Extreme jealousy of others
- Isolating you from loved ones
How To Separate Safely
If you are in fear of your well being, it is important that you develop a safety plan to protect you and your children from mistreatment. By hiring an attorney that is familiar with not only divorce but domestic violence cases too, you have a legal professional who can help you take steps to keep yourself safe. Your attorney may suggest filing a motion to the court preventing your soon-to-be ex-spouse from coming near you, your children, and your workplace. In this way, if your spouse does appear, you can call the police and they will be taken away immediately. It isn’t uncommon for abused spouses to file for divorce and a protective order to the court at the same time.
It can take immense bravery to finally get out of a marriage where you are being hurt. It often takes the abused person many years before they work up the courage to getaway. What keeps an abused spouse in a marriage with domestic violence is the fear of even worsened harm if they attempt to leave. By creating a plan with your attorney and trusted friends and family, you can feel more at ease that you are free from impending danger. Contact experienced family attorneys in Tampa, FL today for more information.
Thanks to The McKinney Law Group for their insight into family law and divorcing an abusive spouse.