Emotional Abuse and Divorce: How Do You Prove it and What Will It Mean?

Posted by Jonathan Jerkins | Mar 16, 2022 | 0 Comments

Divorcing after you've been in an abusive relationship is never easy. But while many people bear the marks of abuse on their bodies, the signs of abuse are never as clear if you're facing emotional abuse. So, how do you approach a divorce after emotional abuse? How do you prove it to the court, and how will it ultimately affect your divorce? This article answers some of the top questions we hear from our clients. 

Emotional abuse can take many forms, including:

  • Verbal threats,
  • Insults, 
  • Manipulation of you, your friends, and family, 
  • Verbal abuse,
  • Controlling money,
  • Controlling your relationships with others or isolating you from family and friends, and
  • Publicly embarrassing, shaming, or criticizing you in front of family or friends.

Proving Emotional Abuse

While proving emotional abuse in court can be challenging, a skilled North Carolina family lawyer can help. Your attorney can use:

  • Witnesses to your spouse's abusive tactics,
  • Written evidence such as emails and texts, 
  • Social media posts or private messages, and
  • Psychological evaluations of you, your children, or your ex-partner.

It's a good idea to keep a log of each abusive contact, phone call, or message from your ex-partner and to save copies or screenshots of all written abuse for your attorney.

What Does Emotional Abuse Mean to My Divorce?

In some cases, the emotional abuse may continue during your divorce proceedings. In many cases, an emotionally abusive spouse will attempt to bully you into accepting a lower offer through repeated abuse. In these cases, it's important to let your attorney know what's happening, keep a log of each contact, and save copies of any written evidence. You can also ask that all communication happens through your attorney or a divorce-friendly phone app like Our Family Wizard or Coparently. These apps can log each communication between the two of you automatically. In some cases, you may ask a North Carolina court for a protective order to prevent your ex from contacting you.

Ultimately, if you and your attorney can show the emotional abuse in court, the judge can consider this as part of a child custody agreement. Emotional abuse can lead to one party losing custody or having limited or supervised visitation and affect the court's marital property distribution and spousal support. 

You Need Skilled Legal Guidance

If you're facing a divorce in North Carolina after emotional abuse, you need experienced legal guidance. Call us at 919-719-2785 or contact us online. You need a skilled family lawyer by your side during this process, and we can help.

About the Author

Jonathan Jerkins

Jonathan "Jay" Jerkins, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, intentionally focuses his practice on all aspects of North Carolina family law litigation and negotiations. Jay was admitted to the practice of law in North Carolina in 2014.


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