Divorce can be a tough time for anyone, both mentally and physically. The strain can take a toll on even the sanest, most level headed couples, and it can also create dangerous situations for those couples that are a little less stable. Domestic violence can occur at any point of a relationship, but when tensions become heightened and stress levels are elevated, so are the chances for domestic violence.
Statistics show that 70 percent of all domestic violence instances occur after a couple has separated. Women should be aware of the increased danger and exercise caution. Also, it's important for women to keep in mind that domestic violence is not limited to bodily harm, but can also consist of sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, and psychological abuse. While only the first two are considered criminal behavior, the remaining three can have just as severe of consequences and can be psychologically crippling.
There are certain aggravating factors that women should be on guard for when going through a divorce. The factors that increase the chances for domestic violence include:
- If your spouse suspects you of being unfaithful
- A history of alcohol or substance abuse
- Explicitly violent threats against you, your friends, or family
- If you have children that are not the abuser's
Women who suspect that their spouse might be susceptible to bouts of violence should meet with their divorce lawyers and make the situation apparent so that they can be out of harm's way during the divorce proceedings. The last thing you want is your divorce lawyer to double up as your criminal defense lawyer.
The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that domestic violence affects over 32 million individuals. Generally, the abuse will follow a set pattern that contains a build up, blow up, and make up. The tension and hostility will gradually increase until the exploding point, at which the domestic violence occurs. After this, the offending party will almost always express a sense of remorse, but don't let this fool you. Regardless of whether the remorse seems genuine or not, it is not an indication that the behavior will stop. You will need to take matters into your own hands and consult with your attorney.
If it plays a role in your divorce, let your divorce lawyer know so that they will settle the matter in court as opposed to mediation. Furthermore, your divorce lawyer can help you find a way to avoid joint custody and curtail visitation rights when necessary. Don't let the situation get out of hand. Recognize the warning signs and protect yourself from domestic violence during your divorce.
About the Author: Christopher McCann is an Orange County and Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer. McCann is a practicing lawyer at the law offices of Christopher J. McCann and writes on topics related to criminal defense and DUIs. McCann was voted as a “Rising Star Attorney” in 2010 by Southern California SuperLawyers Magazine.