Verbal Abuse and Divorce: Impact on Spousal Rights?

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Verbal abuse is a serious problem that has serious consequences. While much attention is generally focused on physical violence, verbal abuse can cause just as severe an impact. Verbal abuse can involve derogatory statements, name calling or put-downs. It can involve threats or intimidation. it can involve control, such as isolating a person by getting angry and making negative verbal comments if he or she tries to do something the abuser doesn't like or if he or she tries to foster relationships with friends or family outside of the marriage. If you are suffering from verbal abuse, it can have a serious and long lasting impact on your life. It can also affect your rights during divorce. As such, it is very important to understand how a verbal abuse divorce may differ from a regular divorce. 

Understanding a Verbal Abuse Divorce

There are several ways in which a divorce may be different when verbal abuse is going on, and the presence of abuse of any sort can affect your rights during a divorce in a few different ways. For example:

  • When verbal abuse is occurring, you generally want to choose a litigated divorce instead of a collaborative divorce or divorce mediation. While most people are encouraged to try to mediate a divorce settlement out of court, this is not a good idea when abuse is going on. Mediation or collaborative divorces involving working closely with your spouse, and you should not agree to this as doing so could put you in the path of more abuse. 
  • If your spouse is verbally abusing you, you may be able to get a protective order commanding him to leave the family home. In a typical divorce, if you both own the house, you can't make your spouse leave. This is not the case if you can prove verbal abuse, as verbal abuse is considered a form of domestic violence and there are additional protections in place for victims. 
  • When verbal abuse is occurring, you may wish to pursue a fault divorce instead of a no fault divorce in states that allow this as an option. This may be able to help you get a divorce more quickly or may entitle you to more spousal support than you would otherwise receive. 
  • The verbal abuse should be presented as evidence in child custody determinations during the divorce, and may impact your spouse's right to have continued access to the kids. This is especially true if any of the abuse was directed towards the child or children. 

Getting Help

During a verbal abuse divorce, it is even more important than usual that you have access to a qualified lawyer to represent your interests. Your attorney can help you to take steps to make sure you are protected from further abuse and can assist you in getting a quick divorce and a fair settlement that reflects what you have been through. 

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