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Recognizing Abuse and Moving Forward with Divorce: What You Need to Know


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Millions of Americans each year find themselves in a dangerous marital relationship in which they are being abused — physically, sexually, psychologically, or even financially — by their spouse. Women, especially women of color, find themselves at higher risk, but abuse can affect anyone in a relationship.

Luckily, rights are guaranteed across the nation when filing for divorce and protecting your belongings in the course of leaving a toxic marriage. Anyone can begin the process of starting a life free from abuse, though every situation will have its own unique challenges.

The first step toward the freedom of divorce is recognizing the abuse. Then, understanding your rights can create a path towards the comfort and security of a home that is truly yours again, a home free of violence and nightmares.

Recognizing Domestic Abuse - and How to Leave

Domestic abuse is one of the many problems disproportionately affecting women around the world. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 4 out of 5 victims of domestic abuse between 1993 and 2010 were women. Across the nation, an average of 20 people per minute experience physical intimate partner violence (IPV).

But IPV isn’t just physical.

Intimate partner violence can take many forms, primarily physical, sexual, or psychological. Each of these forms of abuse cause harm in either a single episode or a recurring pattern of behavior. And while it may be easier to see the signs of physical abuse in a relationship, it’s often not as easy for those experiencing sexual or psychological abuse to recognize the abuse for what it is.

Recognizing Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse occurs whenever one is forced or coerced by a partner to engage in any activities involving physical intimacy. No one in any relationship is obligated to perform sexual acts, and no one should ever be made to feel like they have to. Signs of sexual abuse can include a partner forcing sexual behaviors or dress, assuming consent, or refusing the use of birth control.

No one should have to experience sexual violence, especially from a partner. If you or a loved one has suffered sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673 or chat online for help and support.

Recognizing Emotional and Psychological Abuse

Psychological abuse happens when an intimate partner purposefully controls or hurts you emotionally. This can take the form of outright insults and humiliation or more controlling behavior like demanding to know where a partner is, who they are with, and what they are doing at all times.

Psychological abuse is often marked by jealous, controlling behavior and a quick temper. If a spouse is actively discouraging you from seeing friends and family or from fulfilling your obligations to your work, school, or even hobbies, it may be time to examine the relationship and seek help.

How to Leave an Abusive Marriage

Leaving an abusive marriage can be a terrifyingly daunting experience. The number of factors from finances to physical safety can make leaving a difficult task, but luckily there are plenty of organizations ready and able to help.

For immediate assistance in a domestic abuse situation, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or you can use their online chat if you aren’t in a place where you can speak out loud. You can also speak with your healthcare provider for more helpful resources, or follow an online guide for prevention and intervention.

Understanding Property Rights in a Divorce

While specific divorce laws vary by state, the way property is split between parties falls into one of two categories: community property or equitable distribution. The state you live in determines which of these will guide the division of your resources.

A state with community property laws views property owned by a married couple as either belonging jointly to the couple or to one spouse specifically. Which items quality as marital property depends on the items and when they were acquired. The biggest determiner in whether property will be considered marital vs. non-marital is the time frame in which it was purchased. Everything from cars to clothes to pets can qualify. Even debt accumulated during the marriage becomes marital property.

In states with equitable distribution laws, property is divided based on what the court determines as fair. For example, the financial contributions of one spouse may entitle them to certain property while the other spouse receives the remainder.

In the case of homes, every situation differs, but most often homes are sold since it becomes difficult for one person to afford to maintain it on their own. Whether or not you can stay in your home will depend on whether it was purchased in one spouse’s name alone and how long ago that occurred before the marriage. The length of the marriage also has an effect on a claim to a home.

Making Your Home Yours

After a divorce has been settled and the property is split, it’s time to make a safe and
comfortable home. Whether you are getting your old home ready to sell or redecorating it and maintaining it on your own, it is important to move on from the hard memories kept in the old space.

Thorough cleaning is a great starting point at this stage. Any home can begin to feel like new by scrubbing the walls and floors, dusting, repainting, and cleaning a rotten drain. Memory is triggered by an olfactory sense so something resembling a fresh start can be made with simply a fresh, clean home environment.

Then comes what can be the hardest and the best part of divorce: moving on.

Posted by jhamilton at June 8, 2020 4:20 PM
Comment #456459

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Posted by: parco at June 16, 2020 9:47 PM
Comment #456588

Good information
Thanks to share article
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Posted by: Uday at June 21, 2020 11:24 PM
Comment #456853

The decision to divorce should never be made in the aftermath of a fight. Divorce is final and should be considered carefully, not just for its impact on you, but also for its impact on your children. When you divorce, what ramifications will reverberate through your life and the life of your family? Will you have enough money to sustain your lifestyle—including important small details such as trips to the movies, piano lessons or your weekly take-out Chinese food? Are you ready to leave the family house for a tiny apartment? Are you ready to divide the Impressionist paintings you’ve collected over the last 20 years, your mint collection of rock ‘n’ roll singles or the living room set you bought from the furniture master in Milan?

Posted by: Adichitragupt at June 29, 2020 6:56 AM
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