Even as a Birmingham divorce and family law attorney, I personally hate to see people get divorced. For the children of parents going through a divorce, for the other family members and even for the couple's friends and neighbors, it's a very difficult and stressful time. But there are instances when I have no qualms about recommending divorce and that is where domestic violence is involved. I cannot tolerate spousal abuse, and I'm certain every thinking person out there cannot either.
Did you know that each year, nearly four million women are physically assaulted by their partner in the United States? That's an awful statistic, and worthy of some serious thought. While most divorces have more to do with some form of incompatibility, a fair number are in response to violence. Of course, domestic violence doesn't always have to be physical in nature. I've represented more than a few clients whose spouses used a psychological approach to antagonize and abuse their wife, or husband.
Every week we hear news stories of physical violence that can arise during a marriage, but even afterward the abuser can reach out to the victim again and again. Recently, I ran across a positive story of a domestic abuse survivor who says that in sharing her story, she hopes to keep others from having the same fate as many tragic victims of domestic violence. This woman was physically attacked by her abuser, who literally was trying to kill her.
The television report provided important warnings on how other victims can hopefully avoid a similar situation. For instance, they advise that one should never meet with their abuser in private. Seemingly innocent excuses can be a smokescreen meant to fool the victim into meeting, such as asking a former spouse to stop by to feed a family pet. It can be a dangerous lure.
Bottom line: When it comes to domestic abuse, avoid all contact with the other party — take advantage of caller ID and simply don't answer the phone when he calls. And if you're not certain how to start, by all means contact an experiencedfamily law attorney to find out your rights and how to legally protect yourself and your children.
Surviving Domestic Violence, NBCAugusta.com, June 22, 2009