Spousal Abuse

Explaining Spousal Abuse

Spousal abuse is a form of domestic violence. It is unethical treatment of a spouse through types of abuse including physical, emotional, psychological and even sexual. Physical contact will often occur, but even threats that put a victim in fear of their safety or the safety of another person, may be considered abuse. It is often a behavioral pattern, as opposed to one incident. While couples may have disagreements, spousal abuse goes beyond the normal argument and may require the need for legal intervention. Divorce is already a complicated matter and when spousal abuse is a factor, it only increases the necessity for the case to be put into capable hands.


Those suspected of abuse will be in for a difficult road ahead of them. Charges of spousal abuse can result in severe penalties, including incarceration, fines, restitution and mandatory psychological counseling. Even if a spouse changes their mind about filing a formal complaint, the District Attorney's Office can decide to move forward with the case. During a difficult divorce, it is not uncommon for one spouse to accuse another of abusive behavior. In some situations, a spouse can be falsely accused of abuse in an effort to influence the outcome of the divorce settlement.


Other times, there is valid reason for one spouse to be in fear of the other. Divorce can bring many emotions and disagreements to the surface and when tensions run high there is no telling what people may be capable of doing. Protection is important and if there is any way that it can be done it should be explored. A restraining order is a valuable option that places restrictions on the other individual in regards to the contact they are legally allowed to have.

If a victim has already been abused by their former spouse then they already know the danger involved with them. The law may need to step in to both protect the victim and end the marriage. Domestic violence orders can also include move out orders, and orders to continue to pay spousal support and child support. Abuse will also be considered in a divorce case during the decision making process of the court. Since the court is always looking to put the best interests of the child first, it will also be greatly considered in determining issues such as child custody and visitation.

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