What to know about divorcing emotionally abusive spouses?

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emotional abuse

Unfortunately, emotional abuse is much more common than most people realize. According to research, around 40% of adult women and nearly 37% of adult men are victims of emotional abuse. In a marriage, if one spouse is constantly being name-called, criticized, or yelled at, and you can no longer take the bullying, you are not alone. Despite emotional abuse being nonphysical behavior, it can often escalate to physical violence. That said, it is imperative to take all forms of abuse seriously. If you are worried about the ramifications you may face from your emotionally abusive spouse for seeking a divorce, do not worry, as you do not have to undergo this difficult time alone. Please continue reading and contact a compassionate Suffolk County Divorce Attorney who can walk you through how to proceed with this process safely.

What constitutes emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse is domestic violence involving an individual using nonphysical behavior intended to control, manipulate, threaten, or belittle another person. Although emotional abuse does involve physically harming another person as it does not leave marks. It can seriously affect a person’s well-being and cause long-term severe psychological trauma. In marriages, an individual often uses emotional abuse to control their partner’s behavior. The following include but are not limited to some of the common signs of an emotionally abusive spouse:

  • Feeling like you have no control over your decisions and activities
  • Controlling how you spend your time or how you dress
  • Threatening to cause you harm if you do not do as they say
  • They isolate you from your friends and family
  • They frequently lose their temper when speaking to you
  • They do things to humiliate you or make you feel stupid

Sadly, many people deny they are emotionally abused as they often take the blame, believing it’s their fault. However, it is imperative to understand that abuse is never your fault and that resources are available to protect you from further abuse.

How can it affect my divorce?

When determining a fair divorce settlement agreement, the court will consider several factors, including abusive behaviors and domestic violence. Therefore, emotional abuse can impact the court’s ruling.

The court safeguards the best interests of a child. If a parent’s abusive behavior or domestic violence conviction is deemed to endanger the health or safety of a child, it will affect the court’s determination regarding child custody arrangements, child support payments, and visitation schedules. Moreover, if you prove that your abusive spouse’s behavior resulted in significant financial losses or loss of earning capacity, the judge can grant you a larger share of your marital property.

Furthermore, it is imperative to note that abusive spouses are disqualified from receiving alimony rewards if they have been convicted of domestic abuse. If you are a higher-earning spouse who has been emotionally abused, the court will not obligate you to provide financial support to your former spouse. In some cases, the court may find it necessary to issue a protective order such as an emergency protective order (EPO), a temporary restraining order (TRO), or a permanent restraining order which will require an abusive spouse to stay away from you and leave the shared household immediately to protect you from further abuse.

If you are seeking a divorce, contact a trusted attorney from the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C., who can help you take the necessary steps, such as requesting a protective order to safeguard you from your emotionally abusive spouse.

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I hired Susan to represent me in a divorce matter where I was fighting for custody and to limit my wife's equitable share of our assets. I won custody of our son, kept the marital residence, kept my professional practice, kept my building and paid less than half to my wife. This was after a long-term marriage. She could persuade the court that equitable is not equal and sometimes the man does deserve to win!

‐ Dave

I first must say that I had been represented by two prior attorneys both of whom had simply taken my money and left me nothing to show for it in my custody case. They kept telling me what they were doing for me but I found out they were lying. Susan on the other hand had gotten me temporary custody and support for my children and myself within two months of hiring her. I cannot say enough about her.

‐ Craig

After talking to a few other attorneys, I hired Susan to represent me in my divorce and custody dispute. I was reluctant to go with her because she was the cheapest out of all the other attorneys I met with, but I'm so glad I did. I am 100% positive no one else would have done such a great job with my case as Susan and her staff. Her work is quality, her staff is reliable and her character is honorable. There...

‐ Linda

I had a very difficult case where I had already burned through two attorneys who were unable to get me custody of my children and complete my divorce. Susan was able to rapidly work out an agreement and not let it just malinger on like my previous experiences. She was also considerate of my financial situation unlike all of the other lawyers I had spoken to. I highly recommend her if you want complete and caring service with an in-depth knowledge of...

‐ Joanne


The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. proudly serves clients throughout Suffolk County, New York in their divorce, family law, and estate planning matters. If you require the services of an experienced Suffolk County attorney, schedule a consultation with The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

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