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The Impact of Domestic Abuse on Decision Making in Divorce

As family lawyers, we understand that the urge to escape an abusive relationship, the stinging resonance of that abuse, and the impact of domestic abuse means that the easiest way out is to walk away with nothing. It is also clear that the elements of abuse subsist in the litigation process.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou.

So how can you ensure that you leave the abuse behind and don’t allow it to compromise your financial future? How can you prevent the impact of domestic abuse having an adverse effect on your decision making?

  • Take time and allow yourself to recover – do not be rushed into making financial decisions before you are ready.
  • Get help from a Counsellor or a support group – family and friends offer support, but professional advice is more likely to help you break the abusive cycle. Do this before, during and after the litigation process.
  • Regain your strength before sorting out financial matters – you need the mental strength to picture your future, before resolving financial issues.
  • Get legal advice from a specialist family lawyer and listen to what your solicitor is saying. Believe it or not, they are not just out for your money. A solicitor will be advising you on what you are legally entitled too, as well as what is fair and reasonable.
  • Try to think past your fear and think about you and your children’s financial future. You don’t want to find yourself struggling financially as the children get older, and their needs become more significant. You are not greedy by trying to safeguard your future.

There is an abusive thread which persists past the physical relationship during litigation, in which one party is made to feel like they are greedy and unreasonable when it comes to finances. There may also be a continued play on undermining your ability to make decisions. We frequently see this scenario resulting in a client downplaying the need for advice and pushing a homegrown solution, which is rarely balanced.

Sadly, many individuals feel like they can’t take the above steps while going through a breakup. As a consequence, they are financially worse off than they should be, struggling to support their family. This situation can be even more difficult to reconcile if the abuser is in a much better financial position because there has not been a fair settlement.

“Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” – Toni Morrison.

For further information please contact us.

PA / Legal Secretary to Loraine Davenport

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