How To Prove Your Wife Is Emotionally Abusive
If you are going through a divorce and have been emotional abused by your wife, you may be able to use the abuse as a basis for obtaining spousal maintenance or custody of your children. However, you may have to overcome gender biases and stereotypes in the court.
Research shows that 48.8 percent of men experience emotional abuse, also known as psychological aggression, by an intimate partner. Slashing gender stereotypes, men and women are emotionally abused by intimate partners at approximately equal rates.
Even though emotional abuse does not leave cuts and bruises, it can be just as — or even more damaging — than physical abuse. Emotional abuse by a spouse can negatively impact work performance, cause anxiety and depression, and damage your relationship with your kids. Many guys aren’t certain whether they are suffering emotional abuse, but there are several symptoms you should be aware of.
These include being isolated by your spouse from friends and family, discouragement from participating in independent activities, baseless accusations of infidelity, constant negative criticism, undermining authority in front of your children and more.
For men experiencing emotional abuse, it can be tough to prove in court because of vague standards in determining emotional abuse and its sometimes intangible effects. Many judges still believe the gender stereotype that men are abusers and women are victims unless shown irrefutable evidence that the wife is abusing the husband, which is hard to accomplish in the case of emotional abuse.
Here are some tips for proving emotional abuse:
Obtain a mental health evaluation by a professional — While it can be expensive and time-consuming, it is the only way to concretely prove that the abuse has caused mental trauma.
Save all your emails and text messages from your wife — Any written communication in which your wife belittles you or refuses you access to your children or money may be used in trial.
Find a lawyer in your state that specializes in divorce — A divorce attorney can provide you with advice specific to your case and help you navigate the complexities of divorce.
Do not react to your wife’s abuse — If you react to your wife’s abuse, she may use that to claim that you are abusing her. And, unfortunately due to the bias often shown towards women in divorce courts, a judge will probably take her side.
Obtaining compensation for emotional abuse can be especially difficult in some no-fault divorce states where the reason for the divorce, such as emotional abuse, “cannot impact property division, maintenance or child support,” according to Wisconsin divorce attorney Anne Scipior.
In that case, for the abuse to be considered in determining custody, you would have to prove that your wife’s emotional abuse endangers the children as well.
For it to be considered in determining maintenance, you would have to prove the abuse prevented you from working or decreased your income and, therefore, you need maintenance.
However, in other states, misconduct during the marriage can be grounds for denying your wife spousal support or receiving it yourself. In states that allow fault divorce, emotional abuse may even be grounds for divorce, which may also grant you spousal support and custody.
Emotional abuse in a marriage, though fairly common, can be hard to prove in court — particularly for men. For the best results, you should hire a divorce lawyer in your state who can guide you through this difficult process.