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A look at the many forms that domestic violence can take

Massachusetts residents with an interest in family law issues may wish to learn some information about what domestic violence is and what effect it can have. Due to the seriousness of these matters, this information may help spouses and partners to recognize the issue before it goes too far.

The U.S. Department of Justice defines domestic violence as a pattern of abuse which is used by one partner to gain control over the other. This can happen in many different family situations and can seriously affect all involved, including children and the community. While many people think of domestic violence as physical abuse, such as punching or slapping, there are many different types of behavior that would qualify.

Sexual abuse, the attempt or act of sexual contact without the consent of the other partner, is one prevalent type of domestic violence. This can include marital rape as well as treating the other partner in a sexually demeaning way. Economic abuse is another kind of domestic violence, where one partner makes the other dependent on them by withholding money or other financial resources. Other types of domestic violence include psychological abuse, like the use of fear or intimidation to control a partner, and emotional abuse, which diminishes a partner's self-worth through name-calling or other methods.

The presence of domestic violence can be a motivator to end a marriage, but it is only one of many serious family law issues. When a spouse is seeking a divorce because of this type of behavior that has been exhibited during the marriage, an attorney might be able to help. The attorney can assist the spouse with other issues as well, including child custody and property division. This can help a spouse who has experienced domestic violence break free from an unhealthy marriage.

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