Domestic violence is a very serious thing to keep in mind when going through a divorce, male or female. According to the Department of Justice, 14% of all homicides in the United States were perpetrated by an intimate partner. In 2007, there was a total of 2,340 – 1,640 of those being women, and 700 being men. In other studies conducted, separated and divorced men and women represented the highest rates of homicide, which isn’t all that surprising when you take into consideration that separation and divorce can put quite a strain on couples and be a powerful trigger to violence. (1)
Domestic violence, as a whole, can be grouped into three general categories, which include physical abuse, sexual abuse, and psychological abuse. Psychological abuse is something very commonly seen, as either husband or wife may try to hold things over the other’s head. Some examples of this may include:
- Threats and Intimidation: There may be threats to take children away or destroy the other financially, attempts to coerce into illegal activity, destroying objects, or even isolating the other.
- Minimization, Denial, and Blaming: One partner blames the other when violence occurs or acts like the abuse is non-existent.
- Using Children: One may use the children from the relationship to relay messages of intimidation or threat. They may also use custody or visitation proceedings to gain access to the woman or to control her whereabouts.
- Emotional Abuse: One may use name-calling, insults, and other degrading forms against them.
- Stalking: One may repeatedly send letters, appear at the other’s work or home, or call incessantly to intimidate. (2)
There are many various actions a court may take to keep a person safe when going through domestic violence and a divorce. This could include:
- Emergency Protective Order: These orders are forced for up to a whole week, and are designed to immediately stop the violence until the victim can go to court.
- Temporary Restraining Order: The victim may request for the judge to order the abusive spouse to refrain from further physical, verbal, or emotional abuse. It can also order the abuser to leave the marital home.
- Permanent Restraining Order: The court may hold a hearing to decide if the evidence warrants a permanent restraining order that may last up to three years.
- Criminal Protective Order: These protective orders may last up to three years and stem from a criminal charge resulting from a domestic violence incident.
There are many steps a person can take when they are dealing with violence and abuse stemming from a divorce. There are many things that one needs to keep in mind when they are thinking about taking the final step and walking away from the domestic violence as a whole, especially when children are involved. Here are some things to keep in mind when making this new life transition:
- Keep Good Records: It is important to keep records of every incident of physical or emotional abuse relating to your or your children. The date, time, and place of each event is important to note along with a description of what happened and any noted injuries. This will help when going before a judge.
- Make a Stay-Stay Plan: You are in most danger at the point when you leave the relationship, so put a safety net in place. This could include saving some cash, stashing some clothes with a friend, and thinking of a safe place to reside after you leave.
- Immediately Get Legal Custody: If children are involved, receiving custody is important to keep the children safe. Go to court immediately for an emergency protective order that gives you custody and requires the abusive spouse to stay away from you.
- Receive Legal Help: A violent relationship will always make matters more challenging when dealing with child custody and divorce situations. Speak to an attorney today to help you make the right choices for you and your children during this difficult process. It doesn’t have to consume your life; a good attorney can help you through it all every step of the way! (3)