What is Considered Verbal Abuse and Harassment in Divorce?

Divorce is an intense and emotionally draining process that can turn even the calmest temperament into an explosive temper. No one goes into a divorce expecting it to be easy, peaceful, or pleasant – but that doesn’t mean you should expect verbal abuse or harassment from your soon-to-be-ex spouse. When one spouse crosses the line from normal anger at the situation to abuse or harassment, the other can act to ensure the behavior doesn’t continue during or after a divorce.

How to Recognize Verbal Abuse

Since verbal abuse doesn’t involve any physical pain or signs of abuse on the body, it can be more difficult to recognize than other types of abuse. Verbal abuse may be attempts to threaten, scare, embarrass, isolate, or control you using words. Verbal abuse can seriously affect emotional and physical wellbeing, and it is often a precursor to physical abuse. Verbal abuse and emotional abuse go hand in hand. If your spouse is making you feel threatened or inadequate without laying a finger on you, you may be the victim of verbal abuse. Examples of verbally abusive behaviors include:

  • Yelling, insulting, or belittling you
  • Attacks on your self esteem
  • Unfairly accusing you of being unfaithful all the time
  • Getting angry in a way that frightens you
  • Humiliating you in front of others
  • Threatening to hurt you or your loved ones
  • Threatening to harm him/herself when upset with you
  • Phrases such as, “If I can’t have you, no one can”
  • Deciding things for you

Learn more about verbal abuse. Heated arguments during a divorce are common, but genuine verbal abuse is an unacceptable attack that gives the abuser a means of gaining control. If you believe you are a victim of verbal abuse during a divorce proceeding, you have the right to stand up for yourself. Seek the court’s help to rectify your problem with the help of an attorney. You can file a restraining order against your abusive spouse, preventing him or her from contacting you or your children. The judge may order your spouse to seek anger management counseling as part of a protection order.

What is Harassment?

Harassment may also occur before, during, or after a divorce. Harassment takes many forms, including verbal abuse. Harassment is when an abuser intentionally causes emotional harm to a victim on a regular basis. The abuser may call the victim repeatedly to verbally abuse him or her, threaten to hurt the victim or people the victim cares about, post derogatory claims about the victim online, or otherwise berate a victim repeatedly for a period of time. Any consistent abusive behaviors during a divorce may be harassment.

During a divorce, your spouse may behave inappropriately toward you and your children. Your spouse may threaten, stalk, or even assault you. Like verbal abuse, you can request a restraining order against your spouse to put an end to harassment behaviors. A harassment restraining order will protect you and your children from threats during your divorce proceedings.

How Harassment Affects Divorce

If you’re facing any form of domestic violence, abuse, or harassment during your divorce, seek professional help immediately. Not only will seeking help deliver you and your loved ones from a dangerous situation, but it can also protect your future. Proving your spouse is verbally abusive or harassing you can lead to him or her losing custody of children. A judge must consider the best interests of the child when creating parental responsibility arrangements. A history of verbal abuse or harassment can lead to you getting primary parenting responsibilities of your child instead of your spouse. Our lawyers are some of the best Sacramento family law attorneys around. If your divorce case involves abuse or harassment, contact us so that we can help the navigation process through this difficult situation.