When legal abuse occurs after the separation, there is no shortage of detrimental impacts that may come into play for not only the direct victim of the abuse but on any children involved as well. Watch out for the common mistake of labeling legal abuse as a high-conflict divorce. This is a misconception that frequently occurs with professionals of all types – from custody evaluators, to judges, to guardians ad litem.
High conflict divorce versus legal abuse
Sadly, when one partner is utilizing the legal process as a means of continuing their abusive behavior, it gives the appearance that both parties in the couple are to blame – not just one side or the other. Thus, oftentimes, the victim is lumped into the abuser’s own misuse of the system. This failure to see instances of abuse within the legal system itself is a major shortcoming of the process and one of the hoops that estranged spouses unfortunately still have to jump through.
High conflict divorce means that the issues in the relationship were equally brought to bear by both parties. But more often than not, cases that have been labeled as high conflict divorces are more accurately described as one person pushing the conflict and the other trying to pull away from it.
Leaving an abuser is rarely easy
Among the most important things to have for anyone in this type of situation is a strong support system. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. It takes immense courage and strength to remove yourself from a toxic situation that’s taken on such a central role in your life. Hopefully, you may take some solace in the hope that your life will be fuller and richer after the end of your marriage.
When faced with the heartbreaking decision of leaving an abuser, it’s often helpful to know the difference between various categorizations – namely, post-separation legal abuse and high conflict divorce. It’s unfortunate that in many divorce cases, those who are the abusers in these relationships are more often than not the ones who take advantage of the legal system to leverage even more control over their ex-partner.