The hardest thing about surviving domestic violence that is not physical or sexual in nature is trying to prove that it happened or is still happening. When you decide to divorce your partner for reasons of domestic violence, you will undoubtedly get a judge that asks for medical records or pictures of your injuries. Because courts cannot see the domestic violence you have suffered, it may be dismissed, but there are ways your lawyers can help you and your case.
Find a Lawyer Who Really Knows What Domestic Violence Is
Do not hire just any family law or divorce lawyer. You have to hire someone who knows that domestic violence goes beyond the physical, and involves the mental, emotional, verbal, financial, legal, and isolating types of abuse. This experienced lawyer can help the judge in your case understand that there really was some abuse in the marriage, and what your types of abuse look like.
See a Therapist
If you have not already, your lawyer will advise you to begin seeing a therapist right away. The therapist, with your permission, can supply the court with proof of any traumatic stressors in your life and/or a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. When you are suffering from extreme paralyzing fear, anxiety about what your ex-partner might do, and suffer from frequent attacks of insomnia, you can prove that something is not right and that domestic violence of the unseen kinds are very real.
Find a Domestic Violence Support Group
Joining a domestic violence support group can also help. Joining a group connects you to others who have survived similar abuses and know how to help you get through your situation. They can also provide you with advocates who will come with you to court, speak on your behalf, and provide valuable information to your lawyer and to the judge on just what kinds of abuse you have faced and how you want to avoid any further contact with your ex-partner. If your lawyer and the advocate can work well together, you may even be able to limit the amount of time your ex spends with the children unsupervised.
Proving Your Case
Proving your case for domestic violence will be as difficult as getting a restraining order against your ex, since the physical proof does not exist. However, the monumental stack of therapist notes and recommendations, having a domestic violence advocate present, and hiring a lawyer who has a lot of experience in this area will really help a judge see the light. You may not be able to get a restraining order, but you may be able to limit the time your ex spends with your children, the types and duration of interactions your ex has with you, and maybe even get the judge to arrange a safe exchange place to drop off and pick up your children when they are expected to spend time with your ex.