What is Emotional Abuse and Can It Impact My Florida Divorce?
Not all domestic violence involves a physical attack. There is also something called emotional abuse, and it can happen between spouses or between a parent and a child. It’s important to understand what emotional abuse is and how to recognize it. Emotional abuse can hurt just as much as physical abuse, but it can be harder to identify. The scars are on the inside rather than physical marks on the body.
In a spouse, emotional abuse can lead to depression and possibly suicide, whereas in a child, it can impair psychological development and growth. Sometimes there is an overlap between emotional and physical abuse. If you believe you or your children are victims of emotional or physical abuse, contact a Boca Raton domestic violence attorney right away to ensure your rights are protected in your divorce.
What is Emotional Abuse?
Technically, emotional abuse involves belittling or tearing down someone else through the use of actions, words, and/or behaviors. The guilty spouse can be insulting, manipulative, or verbally abusive. This person likely won’t hesitate for a second to use the kids as pawns in your divorce, or to manipulate them in a way that they start to distrust, dislike, or even fear you. There is no requirement that emotional abuse be constant in order to meet the threshold of abuse either.
Emotional abuse can involve your partner constantly criticizing you, yelling at you with witnesses around, talking down to you in public, or even calling you names in public.
How to Prove Emotional Abuse?
Proving emotional abuse can be challenging. In most cases, it’s word against word on what the abuse involved. With physical abuse, there is often eyewitness testimony, photographs, and/or medical reports. This means that with allegations of emotional abuse, the judge will need to use their own discretion in order to decide whether or not emotional abuse is present.
Keeping records is an important way to help document the emotional abuse, but many victims find they didn’t even realize the abuse was occurring until a long time later. Don’t be surprised if you didn’t realize it. Just, as soon as you start to notice, start taking notes. If the person is harassing you over the phone or sending text messages, keep records. These can show more than just your testimony that the abuse is happening.
How Emotional Abuse Affects Child Custody
If the court believes your spouse is emotionally abusive, they may not award him or her much time with your kids. It depends on the extent of the abuse and how it impacted your children. In some situations, the court may opt to award sole custody to the victim spouse.
Spousal support can also be affected by emotional abuse. While Florida doesn’t factor “at-fault” grounds in a divorce settlement, the abuse can cause secondary impacts. This could be anything from emotional abuse affecting your employability or the abuse causing your grades to nosedive.
Contact a Florida Divorce Attorney
If you have questions on divorce and/or domestic violence disputes, contact a Boca Raton domestic violence attorney at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White at 561-391-9943 today to schedule an initial consultation.