emotional abuse

How Does Emotional Abuse Impact a Divorce?

Emotional abuse can have a serious impact on your self-esteem and your choices, which is why it often takes abuse victims so long to leave a toxic marriage. If your spouse has made a habit of breaking you down and whittling away at your self-image, the decision to leave your marriage is one that could literally save your life and your children’s future.

However, you might be wondering if your spouse’s emotional abuse will affect your divorce. It will play a role in several different ways. Let’s talk more about your situation now—call Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short at 334-821-3892.

Understanding Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can be difficult to define and categorize. Sexual and physical abuse have very clear actions and effects, but emotional abuse is often considered more of a gray area. When does a bad fight cross the line into abuse? Conflict is a normal part of a relationship. Both sides express their emotions and talk through an issue. While it may get heated, there is no intent to harm and no goal of making the other person feel inferior.

Emotional abuse, on the other hand, tends to be habitual. It includes behavior that insults, threatens, mocks, or otherwise causes non-physical harm to the victim. The goal of emotional abuse is to make a person feel ashamed, inferior, or unsafe. While a fight with your partner may leave you feeling angry at them for a bit, emotional abuse leaves you with a sinking feeling in your stomach when interactions with your partner start to go wrong.

Fault Divorce in Alabama

Alabama is one of the few states that still recognizes fault divorce. This allows one party to place the blame squarely on the other’s shoulders, rather than attributing the divorce to irreconcilable differences.

Under the rules of fault-based divorces, someone can ask for a divorce because they feel their health or safety is at risk due to the other party’s abuse or violence. While this does not specifically mention emotional abuse, it does leave room to seek divorce for this reason. If your ex-partner’s abuse left you feeling like your health or safety was at risk, you may be able to get a fault divorce.

Custody and the Division of Assets

Some people wonder why they would ever put themselves through the demands of a fault-based divorce—you have to prove your ex-partner’s wrongdoings and relive them as you create a strong divorce case. This type of divorce can have benefits for you in the area of child custody and the division of assets.

If you’re the victim of abuse, you undoubtedly want to save your children from the same experience. If you have reason to believe that your ex-partner would abuse your children in the same way they abused you, you may be able to seek a greater share of custody or request supervised visits.

Note, though, that this is up to the discretion of the court. Even if you were victimized by your ex-partner, the court may still decide that they are safe to be around your children. If this is the case, you may want to work out a pickup and drop-off plan that does not require you to have direct contact.

Your spouse’s abuse could also help you in the division of assets. It will take time for you to rebuild yourself and trust yourself after the abuse. A division of assets that favors you may give you the financial security you need to heal after divorce.

Your Own Well-Being

Just as your marriage may have been emotionally draining, your divorce could be the same. When an abused partner leaves, the abuser realizes they’re losing their power and often ramps up their abusive behavior. They may show lots of love to the other party to get them to come back, only to restart the abusive behavior once they think they have the victim back under their thumb. Once they see that you are serious about the divorce, they may hurt you in any way they can.

It’s important to have a strong attorney on your side to limit direct contact. You may also want to seek out the services of a therapist with experience in domestic abuse. While this chapter may be difficult for you, it paves the way for a fresh start.

Let Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short Support You During This Challenging Time

Divorce is never easy, but it’s even harder when you’re an abuse victim. We’re here to guide you through this process and protect you every step of the way. Set up a consultation now by calling us at 334-821-3892 or reaching out to us online.

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