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Can Emotional Abuse During the Marriage Affect Your Divorce Case in Florida?


Contrary to popular belief, not all forms of domestic violence involve physical injuries. Emotional abuse is not uncommon during the marriage, and it can be just as painful as physical abuse.

What is Emotional Abuse?

Spousal emotional abuse involves manipulation, shaming, blaming, controlling, demeaning, insults, put-downs, belittling, tearing down, name-calling, and other forms of verbal and emotional abuse. Unfortunately, abusive spouses are likely to manipulate children during a child custody case or put pressure on the abused spouse.

If you have been a victim of domestic violence during your marriage, it could potentially affect your divorce in Florida. Thus, if you were abused by your spouse, it is vital to consult with a domestic violence lawyer to protect yourself before you file a petition for divorce.

For any victim of emotional abuse during the marriage, filing for divorce is risky because the abuse could escalate to physical violence. An experienced family law attorney on your side can help you obtain a protective order and take the necessary steps to keep you safe during your divorce proceedings.

Signs of Spousal Emotional Abuse During the Marriage

Emotional abuse is more difficult to identify and prove compared to physical abuse because emotional scars are not visible. Signs of spousal emotional abuse include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts and tendencies
  • Low self-esteem and self-worth

Signs of emotional abuse in children include impaired psychological growth and development in addition to the above-mentioned symptoms. If you were a victim of physical or emotional abuse during your marriage, contact a skilled domestic violence attorney in Orlando to protect your rights during a divorce case.

How to Prove Emotional Abuse in a Florida Divorce?

Proving emotional abuse can be difficult because there are no physical marks or scars to prove that you were a victim. In most domestic violence cases involving emotional abuse, there is no evidence to prove any form of violence occurred. Typically, it’s the victim’s word against the alleged abuser’s word.

In order to prove emotional abuse, the victim must present medical reports, photographs or videos, and eyewitness testimony. Without any of these types of evidence, the court is unlikely to take the alleged victim’s allegations of abuse seriously. For this reason, it is important to be represented by an attorney and keep records to be able to prove emotional abuse.

Unfortunately, however, many abused spouses do not realize that they have been subject to spousal emotional abuse until it is too late.

Will Emotional Abuse Affect Your Divorce Case in Florida?

If you can prove that emotional abuse has taken place during your marriage, the abusive spouse may be awarded less time with the kids, especially if your children were affected by the abuse, too. Depending on the severity and form of abuse, as well as its impact on the children, the court may choose to award sole custody to the abused spouse.

Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means courts do not consider either party’s fault when issuing a divorce settlement. You can simply state that your marriage is “irretrievably broken” in order to obtain a divorce in Florida. However, any history of domestic violence and emotional abuse could be taken into consideration for the purposes of determining child custody, alimony, and property distribution.

Contact our Orlando family attorneys at the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A., discuss how emotional abuse could impact your divorce case in Florida. Call at 407-521-7171 to get a consultation.


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