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What to Do if You’re Being Emotionally Abused During Divorce?

Angry man and frightened woman at home

For many, divorce can be a time laced with stress, heightened emotions, and tension. Despite the stressors that may unfold during a divorce, there is no justification for one spouse to deal with emotional abuse at the hands of the other spouse.

So what do you do if you are experiencing emotional abuse as your divorce unfolds? Understanding the signs of emotional abuse and knowing your rights can help you move forward in what is often an already difficult period.

What is Emotional Abuse?

Abuse can take on many forms, and some of the less visible types, like emotional abuse, can be the source of great pain and stress.

As the term suggests, emotional abuse will come at the expense of your mental health and often takes on the form of verbal abuse. An individual may experience emotional abuse by their partner for many reasons. Often, the abuser may resort to emotional abuse during a divorce as a way to influence their partner’s decisions. Other abusers might see divorce as their last opportunity to control or inflict pain on their soon-to-be spouse. Abusers emotionally abuse their partners for a variety of reasons, but no matter the reason, emotional abuse is not something anyone should have to put up with.

Emotional abuse during a divorce is not limited to just verbal and psychological attacks. An abuser may influence children or other parties in order to inflict emotional stress on their soon-to-be-former partner. Emotional abuse can take on many forms but you can often recognize it through the following:

  • Taunts and threats toward you or your loved ones
  • Critical remarks about your appearance
  • Critical remarks about the divorce proceedings and laying blame for the divorce on you
  • Criticizing or belittling you in an attempt to embarrass you

What to Do if You Are a Victim of Emotional Abuse During Divorce

If you suffered from emotional abuse during your marriage, you will likely continue to encounter emotional abuse throughout your divorce proceedings. If you find yourself in this predicament, it is important that you speak up to defend yourself. Speaking up allows you to address the abuse, and it can help you build your case as the divorce progresses.

Documenting Emotional Abuse

It can be very difficult to prove emotional abuse. Unlike physical abuse, there are no visible scars left behind. In instances where you are experiencing emotional abuse, it is important to document the abuse. You can do this in either a journal or through digital avenues – for example, by grabbing screenshots of abusive texts and emails. Well-documented patterns of behavior can help you to establish a strong case of emotional abuse. If you have family or loved ones who have witnessed the emotional abuse firsthand, you can also use them to build your case.

Pursuing Legal Action

In the event that you feel that the emotional abuse could turn physical, you might need to ask questions about an order of protection. If you have suffered domestic violence at the hands of your partner in the past, it is entirely possible that your partner could lash out again.

Just as emotional abuse can be a legal cause of action to initiate a divorce, it can also be a legal cause of action recognized during a divorce. Because of the severity that emotional abuse can have on children and other individuals in the family, family law courts continue to give these types of cases the recognition they deserve.

Speak With a Divorce Lawyer

Divorce can be a very tumultuous time especially if one party is not in agreement with moving forward with the divorce. Having an experienced attorney on your side can help you explore your options if you find yourself the victim of emotional abuse. At the law offices of John B. D’Alessandro, a dedicated attorney can walk through your options with you. Reach out today to speak with a representative who will fight for your rights.

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