When most people hear the term “domestic abuse,” they tend to think of an abusive spouse or partner who uses physical violence to control or dominate the other person involved in the relationship. While this type of violence certainly occurs and is a serious issue, abuse between spouses can take many forms, many of which are nonviolent. Importantly, whether or not domestic abuse has occurred can have a significant impact on the way that a divorce is resolved in terms of child custody, property division, and alimony, so it important for anyone going through a divorce to discuss the matter with an attorney in order to determine whether domestic violence has, in fact, occurred in a particular case. Some of the more common non-physical forms of domestic abuse are discussed below.
Emotional abuse generally involves behavior that undermines a person’s self-esteem or results in a situation in which the abuser can exert significant control over the victim. This kind of abuse can include verbal threats, put-downs, yelling, humiliating, victim-blaming, isolating, and intimidation. In serious cases, victims of emotional abuse can develop serious psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Economic abuse is another form of abuse that can be used to exert control over the abuser’s spouse or significant other. This type of abuse involves the abuser controlling the victim’s financial situation, and can take various forms, including:
- Limiting the amount of money to which the victim has access;
- Preventing the victim from engaging in behavior that may establish his or her financial independence, such as going to school, getting training, or working;
- Taking advantage of the money that the victim is able to bring into the relationship;
- Closely monitoring the way in which the victim spends his or her money in order to maintain control.
Generally, this type of abuse is driven by a desire to ensure that the victim remains financially dependent on the abuser.
Establishing Non-Violent Abuse Can Be Difficult
Unlike physical abuse, which tends to leave visible marks and medical records, a pattern of emotional or economic abuse may be difficult for a victim to establish. Examples of the kinds of evidence that may help establish that such abuse was occurring include the following:
- Testimony provided by close friends, extended family, the couple’s children, or others with direct knowledge of the situation;
- Bank statements;
- Expert opinion from psychologists or psychiatrists;
- Direct evidence in the form of voicemails or recorded statements.
Contact a Boca Raton Divorce Attorney Today to Discuss Your Legal Options
If you are considering or going through a divorce in which domestic abuse may be an issue, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. If you are a victim of domestic violence, an attorney will likely pursue a temporary restraining order that will help to ensure your safety while the divorce is pending. If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, it is critical to retain a lawyer in order to start collecting evidence of your innocence. To schedule a consultation with Boca Raton divorce attorney Alan R. Burton, call our office today at 954-229-1660.