Emotional abuse, such as threats of violence, verbal abuse, control, possessiveness, humiliation, and manipulation, is the underlying cause of many divorces. These behaviors may worsen when the abused spouse leaves or files for divorce. If you are the victim of domestic violence or you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, it is important to protect yourself and your children throughout the divorce process. Here are some effective ways to do so:
- Assert yourself and establish limits on communication with the abusive spouse
- Make sure you fully read and understand the terms of any agreement before signing
- Do not verbally retaliate against the abusive spouse as it may further engage them
- If necessary, file a temporary restraining order or a temporary child custody order until divorce proceedings have been completed
- Engage in activities that you enjoy and are good for your physical and mental health, such as meditation, exercise, and therapy
Different Types of Child Custody
Parents may negotiate a child custody agreement out of court if they can cooperate and negotiate the terms. However, in situations wherein one spouse is emotionally abusive, it is unlikely that the diplomatic environment necessary for constructive negotiation will be present. Therefore, a judge may resolve the child custody matter in court.
Physical custody refers to where and with whom the child will live. Sole physical custody may be granted to one parent if the other parent is deemed unfit. If one parent is granted sole physical custody, both parents may still have joint legal custody with the ability to make decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as education and health care, but the other parent will likely be granted visitation. Parents may also be granted joint physical custody, which allows for the child to stay with each parent regularly.
Emotional Abuse Affects Child Custody
In creating the terms of a custody agreement, judges will consider several factors while adhering to the best interests of the child. While it is important for the child to have a relationship with both parents, there may be situations wherein it is in the child’s best interest to be in the sole custody of one parent, particularly when abuse is present.
Judges will consider the mental and physical health of both parents and whether there is a pattern of domestic violence or emotional abuse, as well as other factors, such as the child’s wishes. Evidence of abusive behavior, including text messages, emails, notes, and voicemails, will be taken into consideration during child custody proceedings. It is important to collect evidence to present to the judge so he/she can make a clear and informed decision.
Mendham Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Represent Victims of Emotional Abuse
If you are the victim of domestic violence or you are in an emotionally abusive marriage, the compassionate and experienced Mendham divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. can help you through all aspects of your divorce. We represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Somerville, Mendham, Edison, Somerset, and Woodbridge. Contact us online or call us at 908-575-9777 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.