Domestic violence can affect your marriage, personal life, and children, whether it be physical or emotional abuse. The harm that you have suffered due to your spouse may be the driving force behind filing for divorce. Emotional abuse can leave behind scars that aren’t visible too, so it’s important to bring these feelings up with a trusted family attorney in Tampa, FL for support. Your attorney can take certain actions to keep you and your children from enduring further harm.
When people think of domestic violence, they often imagine physical harm. However, emotional and mental abuse can be painful and devastating, too. Many abusive spouses seek to maintain control of their partner, causing the victim to feel fear, inadequate, and worthlessness. Victims of domestic violence, whether physical or emotional, tend to experience shame, embarrassment, and helplessness.
Emotional abuse can entail verbal threats of humiliation and/or physical harm. Abusive spouses may control where their spouse goes and what they wear, along with delving into their personal accounts without consent. The abusive spouse may instill so much fear in the other spouse that the victim believes they have nowhere to go and nobody will help them get out of the situation. Both the abused spouse and children can develop low self-esteem, depression, and other mental challenges.
Abuse and The Divorce Process
Spouses who are being abused at home may have increased fear as they pursue a divorce. They may worry that their spouse will become angry and hurt them even more severely than in the past. This is why it is crucial that you create a safety plan beforehand, such as contacting a domestic violence hotline, packing an emergency bag with important paperwork, establishing a secret word to say to your family, friends, and children if you are in serious danger, and enlisting your attorney for information on legal protections.
During your divorce, topics such as alimony and child custody will be discussed and negotiated. To protect your children from being harmed due to an abusive parent, you must notify the court of incidents of domestic violence. During this time you should document every occurrence of abuse in however manner you can, such as keeping voicemails, handwritten notes, video recordings, and taking pictures of injuries.
Share this evidence with your attorney so they can help you plan how to bring up these claims in court. It is important that you are in a safe place and no longer living in the same home as the divorce and domestic violence accusations are being dealt with, as it could place you and your children in serious risk of harm.
During court, the judge may want to know the following details in relation to the domestic violence incidents:
- The degree to which the child has been impacted
- Whether the child has witnessed the abuse
- If the child has ever been physically and/or emotionally harmed
- Evidence that supports the domestic violence claims
Thanks to The McKinney Law Group for their insight into family law and domestic violence during the divorce.