A Different Domestic Violence Plaguing Marriage, Divorce, and Child Custody Concerns
On October 21, The Washington Post featured an article on a very important topic: a type of domestic violence that occurs in marriage, which many do not take note of unless and until it turns physical.
For many, this type of abuse is designed to avoid going to jail and to keep one’s partner from leaving an otherwise abusive marriage, and often includes threats to take away the couple’s child. In delaying the decision to leave, by the victim files for divorce, they are often left “devastated,” with “no self-esteem.”
Marital Therapy Is Dangerous When Abuse Is Present
While the first instinct for many who are involved in an abusive marriage may involve going to marriage counseling, in fact, experts recommend against marriage counseling when abusive situations are involved. This is because marriage counselors are trained to focus on helping a couple to improve a marriage (by assigning equal blame) rather than addressing and remedying an abusive situation. As one expert stated, “abuse is not 50/50.”
It is also possible for an abuser to become enraged as a result of what takes place in marriage counseling, and take it out on their partner and/or the couple’s child in the form of retaliation. If one person is scared of retaliation, it is unlikely that a marriage counselor is going to receive an accurate picture of what’s happening and help a couple move forward in their marriage, regardless.
Custody & Financial Concerns: Stop Blaming the Victim
Remember that, under the law in Florida, a court only orders shared parental responsibility for a child if that shared responsibility is in the child’s best interest. One of the factors that judges look at in making a determination on timesharing and parental responsibility, is the presence of domestic violence within the family unit. Still, many who are in an emotionally and/or physically abusive situation may be concerned that by leaving, they will have to share custody of their children, or that they will be unable to provide for themselves and/or their child financially.
There are many complexities involved in why victims stay in relationships like these, necessitating that we instead look for the signs of abuse, and educating and empowering victims to become independent instead of constantly asking why the victim does not leave. Perhaps most importantly, those who are thinking about leaving or are in the process of leaving are at their most vulnerable, and need to plan as much as possible in advance. Part of that involves speaking with an experienced attorney in order to ensure that you are protected, both in terms of child custody and finances.
Get the Help You Need to Protect Yourself
If you are a victim of domestic violence or, in fear of being a victim of domestic violence, please call the FLORIDA DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE AT 1-800-500-1119. If need assistance with filing a Domestic Violence Injunction, or in planning for divorce, contact a member of our team to discuss how we can help. It is possible for you to protect yourself and your family using our legal assistance. Contact us at Arwani Law Firm PLLC in Orlando today to find out more.