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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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  • "Tori had a thorough understanding of my situation and made excellent recommendations to resolve my concerns. She was persistent on communication and handled everything in a very timely manner. I would definitely hire her again in the future if needed." - M.K.

  • "With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.

  • "Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.

  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.

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