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How does domestic violence manifest during a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | DIVORCE - Domestic Violence |

Divorce is a challenging process, and it becomes even more complex when domestic violence is involved. Understanding how domestic violence can manifest during a divorce is crucial for ensuring the safety and well-being of all parties involved.

Physical violence

Physical violence is the most visible form of domestic abuse. During a divorce, physical violence often escalates due to heightened emotions and conflicts. This includes hitting, pushing, choking, or other forms of physical harm. Recognize these signs and seek immediate help to ensure safety.

Emotional and psychological abuse

Emotional and psychological abuse can be just as damaging as physical violence. This form of abuse includes verbal threats, insults, manipulation, mind games, gaslighting to make the victim doubt their reality, and isolation from family and friends. Emotional abuse often leaves no visible scars, making it harder to identify but no less harmful.

Financial abuse

Financial abuse occurs when one spouse controls or limits the other’s access to financial resources. This includes withholding money or credit cards, restricting access to bank accounts, forbidding the victim from working or attending school, and running up debts in the victim’s name. Financial abuse leaves the victim financially dependent, making it difficult to leave the abusive situation.

Legal abuse

During a divorce, legal abuse manifests as one spouse using the legal system to harass or control the other. This includes filing frivolous lawsuits or motions, dragging out the divorce process to exhaust the victim’s resources, and threatening to take custody of the children without genuine concern for their well-being. Legal abuse aims to intimidate and wear down the victim through relentless legal battles.

Digital abuse

In our increasingly connected world, digital abuse has become more common. This form of abuse includes monitoring emails, social media, and text messages, using GPS to track the victim’s location, spreading false information or threats online, and cyberstalking. Digital abuse extends the reach of the abuser and makes the victim feel constantly watched and controlled.

Stalking and harassment

Stalking and harassment are forms of abuse that occur both during and after a divorce. This behavior includes following the victim, showing up uninvited at home, work, or other places, repeatedly calling or sending unwanted messages, and using third parties to contact or monitor the victim. Stalking and harassment create a sense of fear and intimidation, severely impacting the victim’s quality of life.

Navigating domestic violence during divorce

Domestic violence takes many forms, each with its own set of challenges and dangers. Recognizing these different manifestations is the first step toward addressing and preventing abuse during a divorce. 

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