Emotional Abuse and Divorce: What You Should Know

If you have been involved in an emotionally abusive relationship and are now seeking a divorce, there are a few things you should know about how your former partner may attempt to manipulate both you and the divorce process.

Many abusers try to control their victims. An abusive spouse’s goal is to make you feel worthless, afraid and inadequate — to the point at which you will not seek outside help. Examples of emotional abuse may include threats of physical violence, regular humiliation, controlling your ability to go places, cutting you off from friends or family, shaming you and recording you without your consent. In many cases, abusers target both their spouses and children.

It’s common to see one spouse’s emotional abuse worsen when the victim files for divorce or tries to leave. This represents the abuser’s attempt to regain control and force you to stay. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to keep a log of every incident of abuse, including text messages, notes, voicemails and emails, and writing down details of all conversations. This can provide valuable evidence during your divorce.

Abuse has a considerable impact on child custody

A spouse who has engaged in any form of abuse may have a difficult time securing child custody rights. Courts tend to focus on creating and approving custody and visitation plans that are in the best interests of the children. Key factors include the following:

  • The mental and physical health of each parent
  • The child’s relationship with his or her parents
  • The child’s needs (mental, educational, emotional) and each parent’s ability to meet them
  • The stability and income of each parent
  • History of domestic violence or emotional abuse
  • Other factors the court considers pertinent

For more information and guidance on how emotional abuse can affect a divorce case, meet with a compassionate Minnesota family law attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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