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Friday, October 10, 2008

How to Deal with Spousal Abuse

Spousal abuse can be a very traumatic experience. Often as a marriage unravels and moves towards divorce, the incidence of abuse can increase, making daily life all the more difficult to endure.

It is important to never tolerate abuse from your spouse, or from anyone for that matter. In abusive situations, there are both legal and practical steps you can take to remedy your situation.

The most effective legal option is to get a restraining order on your spouse. This is a court order preventing your spouse from engaging in certain conduct, and it often delineates physical boundaries which cannot be crossed by your spouse. Frequently, your abusive spouse can be forced to move out of the house without the right to return for any reason.

If your children are being abused as well, your lawyer can establish visitation agreements allowing your spouse to see the children only at specified times and in specified places. In extreme cases, supervision of visitation may be ordered. These agreements can occur before divorce proceedings are finalized.

It is also a good idea to contact the police whenever you have been abused. It is important to establish a record of these events to be used as evidence in your divorce. Unfortunately, the police are sometimes reluctant to get involved in domestic disputes, so they may not be of great help to you. But at the very least, you will start building a case against your spouse.

There are also people you can see in your community for help and assistance. Counselors and support groups can be very helpful in cases of abuse. If your children have been abused, you may want to contact social services. Also, don't be afraid to lean on family and friends. They can be your strongest allies and help you get through one of the toughest times of your life.


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