Facing Divorce? See what steps you can take to protect what's yours.
Divorce Home » Beyond Divorce » Psychology

Domestic Violence


Divorce is a very emotional experience where people experience many emotions, including confusion, uncertainty and anger. Unfortunately, some people may become extremely bitter after a divorce and resort to violence against ex-spouses. If you're in a marriage that you want out of, a divorce lawyer can explain your legal options so you can move on with your life.


If you are a victim of domestic violence, you should contact your local authorities by calling 9-1-1 and get immediate help. You may also seek counsel from The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Domestic violence and emotional abuse are ways people in a relationship try to control the other person.There are many different forms of domestic abuse, including:

  • Physical Abuse
    Physical abuse is hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling and other ways abusers can physically harm the victim. Denying a spouse medical care or forcing alcohol or drug use can also be physical abuse. This type of domestic violence is considered criminal behavior.
  • Sexual Abuse
    Pressuring or attempting to pressure a victim into sexual behaviors without consent is considered sexual abuse. This may include marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence or treating a victim in a sexually demeaning manner. Sexual abuse is also considered criminal behavior.
  • Emotional Abuse
    An abuser uses emotional abuse to undermine the victim's sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Some forms of emotional abuse are constant criticism, diminishing the victim's abilities, name-calling or damaging the victim's relationship with his or her children. Although emotional abuse is not considered criminal, it can lead to criminal behavior.
  • Economic/Financial Abuse
    Attempting to make the victim financially dependent is economic or financial abuse. This may include, maintaining control over financial resources, withholding money or forbidding the victim attend school or hold a job. Economic abuse isn't criminal either.
  • Psychological Abuse
    The abuser causes fear through intimidation, threats, destruction, denial, blame, humiliation, dominance or isolation in psychological abuse. This type of abuse isn't criminal but can still be just as unhealthy to the victim as physical or sexual abuse.

It's important to remember that anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. Although women are typically portrayed as the victims of abuse, men can also be abused.

Cycle of Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse has a common pattern or cycles of abuse:

  • Abuse
  • Guilt
  • Rationalization or excuse
  • "Normal" behavior
  • Fantasy and planning
  • Set up

Some cycles follow more of a three step approach, which is the build up, the blow up and the make up or remorse.

Both of these cycles show that the abuser uses some tactic to domestically abuse the victim but feels guilty afterward. The abuser will try to make it up to the victim and promise to change. For a little bit of time, the victim may notice the abuser has changed, but it's not long before the abuser is planning to act again and is setting up a situation to justify the domestic abuse.

Domestic Violence and Divorce

The Department of Justice has found that domestic violence affects more than 10% of the U.S. population, or approximately 32 million people. The same study discovered that there are nearly 5.3 million incidents of intimate partner violence annually among U.S. women 18 years of age and older, and 3.2 million such incidents among men.

The Department of Justice has noted that women of all races are especially vulnerable to violence from an intimate partner. Specifically, the Department of Justice has determined that 37% of all women who seek emergency room care for domestic violence related injuries were injured by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend.

Speak to a Divorce Attorney about Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can influence how the divorce court rules during the divorce process. After you are safe from an abuser, speak to a local divorce lawyer about how to work through the divorce process and acknowledge the presence of domestic violence in court. Protect yourself and your children in the future with the help of an attorney. Speak to a divorce attorney today by calling 877-349-1310 or filling out a divorce case review form.

Case Evaluation