There are many shapes of domestic violence out there, all of them being horrible in their own way, and none of them should ever be looked over. There can be the obvious ones that come to mind, such as physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. But there are other, more “subtle” forms of violence that are still as destructive for the victim as any other. Even a threat of violence shouldn’t be taken lightly, as it keeps the victim in the perpetual state of fear.
Basically, any situation where one partner has the power over the other can be characterized as domestic abuse. While women are most commonly victims in such cases, one should in no circumstance forget that everyone, males, females, transgender people, and so on, can be both abusive and abused.
On the other hand, violence may not even be present, but the issue of divorce is still something that most commonly deeply affects the children and their perception of the world and themselves. This is why it needs to be approached with a lot of care, thought, and planning, so that the boy/girl doesn’t remain scarred by this sudden change for an extended period of their life.
The cycle of abuse
The cycle of abuse basically consists out of four stages. The first is the abusive incident that happens. It is followed by tension where the abuser attempts to suppress their violent urge, and the abused person does what they can to maintain peace, until, eventually, another incident occurs. This is followed by the make-up phase, where the abuser does their best to apologize, promises never to do such a horrible thing again, but also sheds the blame by saying that the abused person was “asking for it”, and that they are making things “larger than they really are”. Finally, comes the calm period, where both sides act as if nothing has happened, and attempt to ignore the underlying problem that is only growing.
The fact is that the cycle can continue on and on, with both sides playing their respective, predictable roles. As time passes by, the make-up and calm stages last shorter while the abusive stages are prolonged. What most commonly happens at this time is that the victims of domestic violence develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) HYPERLINK "https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml". The horrible thing about this is not only the disorder itself, but the fact that people suffering from it often tend to become drawn to violent behavior themselves, which means that the cycle repeats itself throughout generations, and is really hard to stop. Diagnosing and surpassing a long-term disorder such as PTSD tends to be very difficult.
Domestic violence and divorce
The big problem about domestic violence is that, from a legal point of view, it’s a very complicated matter. The fact that it is there actually doesn’t have to have any effect on whether the judge will allow the person to get a divorce or not. Furthermore, child custody and alimony may not be affected either. But, there can be indirect implications that can influence the outcome.
You should know that if you are a victim of domestic violence, you can protect yourself via various legal means, such as a Restraining Order, No-Contact Order, Domestic Violence Order For Protection, and so on.
The issue with a lot of countries is they are based on the no-fault divorce legal approach, which basically means that neither party has to actually be at fault for them to be granted a divorce. You can basically only base this decision on having differences with your partner that cannot be reconciled. What is bad about this is the fact that domestic violence doesn’t really matter to the judge when they are considering your application for a divorce.
Nevertheless, the violence can still have an impact on various aspects of the trial. This includes child custody, maintenance, and equitable distribution. If a parent has a history of being violent within the family, the judge may take that into account and come to a decision that benefits the child the most. He may restrict or limit visitation according to this fact. Next, while a judge can’t take domestic violence into consideration for granting you an alimony, they can take it into consideration because it is related to the victim’s ability to get a job. If they have developed PTSD, lost their job, and have real trouble finding and keeping a new one, then this can work in favor of maintenance awards. Finally, if domestic violence has made various marital assets “miraculously disappear” (this includes medical bills, counseling, and so on), then the judge may allocate assets differently.
Children and divorce
Even if there is no actual violence in the family, a divorce is most commonly bound to have a massive effect on children. There is a variety of ways that they will attempt to cope with the situation, such as identifying with the same - sex parent which can hinder their development if they get the message that “they shouldn’t act like them”. In this case, the child will identify with the “bad” and even try to mend it throughout their life and relationships, even though it was never their “fault” to begin with.
It’s difficult to tell your children about getting a divorce. The most important thing for a parent to do is to tell them the truth – the real reason why these things are happening. The children need to be reminded that they are still loved, and that the falling out between their parents has nothing to do with them nor that it means that “the boy/girl is divorcing their parent too”. It is essential that the kids in no way feel like they are to blame, and that is why parents must prepare for what they are going to tell them together, show respect and restraint when addressing each other, and be prepared to answer any questions about how everything is going to change from now on. A useful tip to know is that younger kids require less detail, while older ones need to know more.
It is also essential that parents encourage their kids to speak about how they feel and listen to them carefully. It is their task to help the child learn how to express what they feel, be honest about what is bothering them, and that their words and feelings are taken seriously, no matter what they are.
Finally, it is a very common thing for parents to find themselves fighting over details related to how they are going to take care of the children in the future. It’s essential for everyone to try to look at the bigger picture, and decide what is best for the kids. If the divorce had no violence in its core, then the kids will certainly want to keep a good relationship with both their mom and dad. This is where the help of a good child custody lawyer would certainly be useful. They will help you paint the right picture of what life is going to look like in the days that are to come.
Being a victim of domestic violence can cause incredible damage that takes a lot of time and counseling to truly heal. In the case that you have been abused, and believe that your behavior may exhibit symptoms of PTSD, it is strongly advised that you go to a psychotherapist that has great expertise in this area. If you are in a situation right now where you know or believe that you are being abused, then you should immediately contact a local domestic violence hotline.
However, divorce is also a situation that, while it may not contain an ounce of abuse and violence, is certainly a huge effect on the children. It can be extremely stressful and confusing, and if not approached properly, it can hinder the child’s development, and leave a sort of trauma that can follow them for a long, long time. This is why divorce needs to be approached very carefully, especially in relation to the kids. They should be well aware of what is going on, but also paid special attention to in terms of their thoughts and feelings on the matter. They must know that they are not to blame, and if possible, they should be able to have a good relationship with both their parents in the future.