Emotional abuse is an issue that can be a part of many different types of family law claims. It usually consists of inappropriate words or behavior that has very negative effects on the victim. For instance, it can involve:
- Constant, cyclical use of language intended to intimidate or harass the victim
- Exposing the victim to negative images or traumatizing situations
- Use of false statements (especially when describing another person such as the other spouse or parent)
- Threatening gesture or movements directed toward the victim
This type of abuse is often called “psychological abuse” or mental abuse. In many instances, the aim of the abuser is to break down the victim’s self-esteem and create a negative self-image. This often forces the victim into a dependency on the abuser,
In the past, psychological and emotional abuse were not readily recognized as a form of abuse. This is especially true if there were no physical symptoms accompanying the accusations of abuse. However, in recent times, emotional abuse is very much considered a major factor in many family law cases.
Emotional abuse is reviewed especially closely in child abuse cases. This is because courts recognize that emotional abuse early on in a child’s life can have consequences that continue well on into the person’s adult life. Also, emotional abuse is considered in many different spousal abuse contexts, especially where the case also involves physical domestic violence.
Emotional abuse can often result in a damages award for the victim. This can often help cover expenses such as therapy sessions, medical costs, medication expenses, etc. In most cases, courts are wary about issuing damages awards for fake or imagined mental conditions. Thus, if the victim also has manifested some physical symptoms, it can help serve as evidence for their claim. Lastly, courts may also decide to issue and enforce a restraining order on the offender. This is more so the case when there is physical violence involved. Emotional abuse can also be a determining factor in cases involving child custody, child support, and visitation times.
Emotional abuse can be a major factor in some family law claims. You may need to hire a family lawyer if you need advice or representation regarding emotional abuse. Your attorney can inform you of your rights and what types of legal remedies are available. Also, if you need to file a legal cause of action, your attorney can guide you through that process.