Divorce is exceedingly stressful, and as such, tends to bring out the worst in people. If your spouse is abusive to begin with, divorce is very likely to make things that much more difficult. Further, it's important to recognize that abuse can come in a variety of forms. When we think of domestic abuse, we tend to think of physical abuse, but emotional abuse and plain old bullying are also prevalent and can be exceedingly painful to endure. The fact is that, if you are divorcing an abusive spouse, your best path forward is to work closely with an experienced Killeen divorce attorney.
The Divorce Process
If you are preparing to divorce your abusive spouse, there is a process you should follow that includes specific steps designed to help protect you and your children throughout. These steps include (in order):
- Do whatever is necessary to ensure you and your children’s physical safety
- Have your spouse served with divorce papers (What if he refuses to sign them?)
- Allow your divorce attorney to negotiate with your spouse’s attorney regarding temporary terms
- If your spouse’s negative behaviors escalate, request a Temporary Restraining Order that precludes him or her from contacting you
Abuse and Divorce
Abuse in a marriage is often self-perpetuating. The more abusive the spouse, the harder the victim struggles to placate him or her – and the more emboldened the abusive spouse becomes. The State of Texas, however, has laws in place that are designed to protect abused spouses and to safeguard their rights throughout the divorce process (and beyond). Further, the fact of abuse can work against your spouse in the outcome of your divorce.
The burden of proving your spouse's abuse falls to you. If the abuse is physical, there is often evidence in the form of police reports, eyewitness testimony, medical records, and/or photographic evidence. When abuse is verbal, emotional, or bullying in nature, it can be more difficult to demonstrate to the court, but a divorce attorney who's experienced with cases involving abuse will help you compile robust evidence in support of your claim.
Proceed with Caution
When people resort to abuse to solve their problems, they are likely to escalate under the stress of a divorce. Being served with divorce papers can feel like a personal indictment, which can leave an abusive spouse more prone to ugly and dangerous behaviors. Keep this in mind when you start taking steps to end your marriage, and always make you and your children's safety your top priority. Your experienced divorce attorney, the authorities, and/or support groups can all be good resources for finding the help you need.
If You Are Divorcing Your Abusive Spouse, You Need an Experienced Killeen Divorce Lawyer on Your Side
Divorce is extremely stressful, and stress can act like an accelerant on abusive personalities. If you are facing divorce from your abusive spouse, Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is an experienced and formidable divorce lawyer who is committed to helping you move past this hardship and into your new future. Mr. Pritchard is on your side, so please do not hesitate to contact us or call us at (254) 220-4225 for more information today.