Our firm handles many unfortunate cases involving serious levels of domestic violence. While some forms are physical and others verbal, any domestic violence is about power and control. Domestic violence manifests itself in many forms including:
1. Coercion and threats: Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt;
2. Intimidation: Making the wife afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, destroying property, abusing pets or displaying weapons.
3. Emotional abuse: Putting the her down, making her feel bad about herself, calling names, making her think she is crazy, playing mind games, humiliation, making her feel guilty.
4. Isolation: Controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, what she reads, and where she goes. Limiting her outside involvement. Using jealousy to justify actions.
5. Minimizing, denying and blaming: Making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously. Saying the abuse didn’t happen. Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior. Saying she caused it.
6. Using the Children: Making her feel guilty about the children. Using the children to relay messages. Using visitation to harass her. Threatening to take the children away.
7. Economic Abuse: Preventing her from getting or keeping a job. Making her ask for money. Giving her an allowance. Taking her money. Not letting her know about or have access to family income.
8. Male Privilege: Treating her like a servant: making all the big decisions, acting like the “master of the castle,” being the one to define men’s and women’s roles.
Domestic violence is a serious issue and women need to be protected from it as much as possible. For example, exchanges should be made at the minor child’s school whenever possible or in public places (i.e. police stations or malls). Communication can be restricted to court monitored devices. Our firm works with clients to devise parenting time orders that are extremely detailed and specific to limit opportunities for them to be exploited and manipulated.
Domestic violence is now one of the enumerated factors the court must evaluate when making custody determinations. Before awarding joint custody, the court must consider “whether the parents will be able to cooperate and generally agree concerning important decisions affecting the welfare of the child.” MCL 722.26(a)(1)(b).
Whether you have reported your situation to law enforcement or not, if you have been the victim of domestic violence, please let us know so that we can develop an appropriate legal strategy to protect you.