Divorce is hard on absolutely everyone involved – it's hard on you, your spouse, your children, your friends and loved ones, and your respective families. This is a universal truth.
The stress of divorce can also lead normally reasonable people to do extremely unreasonable things, including becoming emotionally abusive during the divorce process. While this is not a valid excuse for your spouse's mistreatment of you, knowing this fact can make it easier to recognize that you are being abused in the first place.
If your once loving spouse has turned on you in a way that you never thought possible, it is easy to blame yourself or to make excuses for him or her. It is not, however, in you or your children's best interests to do so.
Yes, you are going through a divorce, and yes, it is stressful – but you are just as worthy of being treated respectfully as anyone else is. You are also going through a difficult time, and it's important to call emotional abuse by its name and not to accept such treatment, whether it's during your divorce or any other time.
If your spouse is resorting to emotional abuse during the divorce process and making your life as difficult as possible, you need the skilled legal counsel who has dealt with these type of situations.
Divorce is no excuse to accept emotionally abusive behavior from your spouse. If are in on this type of situation, you need to know your rights and legal options. In some cases, the behavior by your spouse could impact your divorce proceedings and you might even have a right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
The experienced Los Angeles family law and divorce attorneys at Furman & Zavatsky can review the details of your situation and provide you with advice or legal representation moving forward. Our California divorce lawyers provide an outline below to help you. Our California divorce lawyers provide a useful outline below.
Recognizing Emotional Abuse
While physical abuse is easily identifiable, emotional abuse can be just as devastating but more difficult to pinpoint. Emotional abuse has a way of creeping up on you during a divorce. What may begin as a few excited utterances that you find hurtful can snowball into a full-throated attack that's intended to diminish your confidence and impair your clear judgment and decision-making powers.
In other words, you may not immediately recognize that you are being emotionally abused. There are, nonetheless, several telltale signs that your spouse is employing emotional abuse:
- Your spouse attempts to isolate you from family, friends, work
- Your spouse starts yelling and making threats towards you a habit
- Your spouse starts making rude comments about your weight or clothes
- Your spouse attempts to make you feel guilty for your behavior or past decisions
- Your spouse takes control of your family's financial decisions and/or financial accounts
- Your spouse inappropriately shares personal and private photographs or information with other people
- Your spouse creates a smear campaign against you on social media
All of these are some symptoms of abuse – often related to domestic violence, and they can begin slowly before building into something that is overwhelming and that you are unable to separate yourself from.
Courts Are Intolerant of Spouses Who Cause Intentional Pain and Suffering
Most people who've ever been through a divorce have said and/or done things that they are not proud of. This, however, is very different from engaging in a systematic plan to cause pain and suffering. If your spouse engages in emotional abuse during your divorce proceedings, that is exactly what he or she is doing.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress often involves ridiculous behavior to cause you severe emotional distress. If you case eventually goes before the court, this fact is likely to haunt your spouse. It's important to note severe emotional trauma in more than just having your feelings hurt. It's extreme conduct that you have to be able to prove. In some cases, civil lawsuits are an options, but there are separate from any divorce proceeding.
For example, when you are going through the divorce process in Los Angeles family law courts, you will be expected and even required to negotiate several important terms of your divorce. Successful negotiation is almost impossible when there are hard feelings between spouses.
In some divorce cases, one spouse can be primarily thinking about revenge rather than negotiation. Many family courts will require spouses to pursue outside help, such as mediation, if they can't reach an agreement.
If mediation is not successful, then you will probably proceed to a divorce trial where the judge will listen to arguments and review evidence from both spouses. If it is shown that a spouse has acted in unreasonable behavior, especially if it's intentional, you can use this information to your advantage at trial.
It's important to note that family court judges are allowed broad discretion in making decisions. If there is sufficient evidence of emotional or physical abuse, it can certainly impact their final orders.
A classic divorce example deals with awarding child custody. It's not likely an abusive parent would be awarded sole custody of their child. Additionally, abusive behavior could also impact child support decisions if their behavior affected your ability to work.
If your spouse has been emotionally abusive towards you during the divorce process, you need to inform your lawyer because they may be able to use the information to your advantage.
The fact is that divorce is all about finding some middle ground that you and your divorcing spouse can agree to with relation to important decisions, including the division of property, child custody arrangements, child support payments, and spousal support.
If your spouse has become abusive in the process, however, there is very little chance that he or she will be able to successfully negotiate with you. On the contrary, some divorcing spouses who become abusive are intent on thwarting their partners – regardless of the outcome.
The Divorce Mediation Process
The majority of California divorce cases are settled out of court. Many are settled in mediation. If your divorcing spouse has become abusive, it can be a serious impediment to the mediation process. If your spouse is motivated to negotiate at mediation, the fact of his or her abusive behaviors can be addressed.
Once your spouse recognizes that the court is unlikely to take lightly to such behavior, he or she may be persuaded to adopt a more amenable attitude regarding your offers. The fact is that, if your case proceeds to court, the judge has considerable discretion to penalize your spouse for his or her abusive treatment of you.
Retain a Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer for Help
If your spouse becomes emotionally abusive during the divorce process, you will need a seasoned Los Angeles divorce and family law attorney who can help you. Yes, the stress of divorce can lead people to extreme behaviors, but it's important to remember that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and that emotional abuse is never acceptable.
Our compassionate legal team at serves the greater Los Angeles area and we understand how difficult this experience is for you and is committed to helping you. To schedule a free consultation, please contact or call us at 818-528-3471.
Furman & Zavatsky
15821 Ventura Blvd #690
Encino, CA 91436