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Divorcing a verbally abusive spouse

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2023 | Uncategorized

Are you leaving your spouse – at least in part – because they are verbally abusive? This is certainly a type of abuse that often goes hand-in-hand with domestic violence, intimidation, manipulation and related kinds of mistreatment. When it becomes clear that the relationship can’t be fixed, the spouse who is facing this abuse may file for divorce.

Family courts want to be sure that both parties are able to negotiate fairly and are not being coerced or intimidated during the divorce process. In terms of child custody, the court also wants to make sure that a home living situation is safe for the children. If one spouse is verbally abusive – and especially if they have ever taken things to a physical level – then they may not be granted physical custody rights in the event of a contentious divorce.

A pattern of behavior

One thing that the law notes is that the court should be looking to see if there has been a pattern of behavior that allows one spouse to control the other and exert power over them. Verbal abuse is one tactic that people sometimes use to accomplish this aim. Some cases are subtle, but many are overt instances of intimidation that occur between spouses in the state on a regular basis.

These threats and verbal altercations can cause someone to believe that there is an imminent threat of danger to them or to their children. The court certainly does not want to make their situation any worse or more dangerous. And, as noted above, there are concerns that any negotiation between the two parties would not actually be fair when this type of power dynamic exists. The court may feel compelled to make custody decisions – and others – on the behalf of the couple, even if they express a desire to work collaboratively. It is rare that a court would step in in this way but if it seems that one spouse is being railroaded by the other, it could happen.

What steps do you need to take?

Anyone who is in an abusive relationship needs to make sure that they focus on their safety and on protecting their interests. Do not assume that verbal abuse is normal. Gather any evidence that you can, such as videos or other accounts, as they may be very beneficial during the divorce case. Then begin looking into the steps you can take to end the marriage in a structured and safe manner for all involved with the assistance of an experienced legal professional.