Choosing to end your marriage is always a difficult decision to make but it can be made a little easier if you have been a victim of domestic violence at the hands of your spouse.
Domestic violence in a marriage can impact the outcome of your divorce. It can affect which type of divorce you file for, fault or no-fault, the division of your property and assets, your ability to obtain spousal support, and your child custody arrangement if you have children together.
Below, we discuss what is considered domestic violence when you’re in a relationship of any kind and provide resources to those who might be enduring domestic violence at home.
Types of Domestic Violence
An alarming number of people believe that domestic violence can’t occur in a marriage or that men can be victims of domestic abuse. In fact, studies have shown that domestic violence against men is on the rise and has a great influence on the dissolution of marriages across the country.
No one should ever be a victim of domestic violence, caused by the person you’ve promised to love and cherish. There are quite a few different ways that domestic violence can manifest, including emotionally, sexually, physically, financially, psychologically and verbally.
Emotional abuse can constitute your partner harming your relationship with those you love including your siblings, parents, children and friends, constant berating criticism of everything you do, making it seem as though you are incapable of anything you set your mind to, and even name-calling. This form of abuse can have a lasting impact on the victim’s life and often requires extensive mental health counseling to overcome.
Someone who is being sexually abused will be coerced or threatened into sexual contact or activities without providing their explicit consent. It’s shocking how many people believe that sexual abuse doesn’t apply to married couples.
Marital rape is still rape, and one spouse forcing the other into sexual activities, treating them in a sexually demeaning way or forcing sex after a physical altercation are all forms of sexual abuse which can also be punishable by jail time and other penalties.
This area of domestic violence is most often considered when someone believes they’ve been a victim of domestic violence. Such physical violence might including hitting, punching, grabbing, shoving, biting, hair-pulling, slapping, the denial of medical care or the ability to call an ambulance or 911, and/or forcing one spouse to consume drugs or alcohol against their will.
Financial abuse occurs when one spouse is restricting the other spouse’s access to money in any way. This could be through maintaining exclusive control over money, not allowing the spouse to go to work to earn a living, or withholding money they need to support themselves.
However, this form of abuse is one of the least recognized but most utilized by domestic abusers. Many victims feel that they are unable to leave the relationship due to these financial restrictions.
Verbal and Psychological Abuse
Isolation, intimidation, name-calling, threatening to cause harm to themselves or someone else, the destruction of property and harming of pets are all considered to be forms of verbal and psychological abuse.
Domestic Violence Defined and Help for Survivors
If you believe you are a victim of domestic violence, there are options available to you to escape the danger you’re in. The United States Department of Justice defines domestic violence situations as “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner”.
The law is on your side. Get the help you need to reclaim control of your life. You can reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 at any time of day, every day of the week for assistance in removing yourself from the domestic violence you’re suffering from at home.
Consult with a Compassionate Divorce Attorney
If you’re a survivor of domestic violence at the hands of your spouse and you’re ready to move forward with your divorce, a family law attorney who helps with domestic violence issues can make a difference.
Your lawyer can offer you resources in your area and help you fight for all you’re entitled to in your divorce proceedings. Don’t let yourself be a victim for another moment. Take back control of your life, so you can put this trying time behind you.