Domestic violence plagues hundreds of thousands of American households, and it is often hard for people on the outside to know what really happens behind closed doors.
Up until the moment you decide to leave, you will likely invest substantially in protecting your spouse’s reputation. You may have avoided calling the police or even talking to your friends and family about the mistreatment you have endured.
While domestic violence can be a motivation to file for divorce, it can also have a strong impact on what happens during divorce proceedings. However, mere allegations won’t influence how the court split custody or their decision about your request for an order of protection.
You will need documentation if you want to convince the courts of the abuse that you have suffered. What kinds of evidence could help you prove domestic violence?
A diary or journal detailing numerous incidents
Some people may need months to prepare to leave an abusive relationship. Once you decide to leave, you may want to start keeping a detailed personal account of every violent, aggressive or abusive incident. Recording all of the crucial details in writing, from the time and date to the location and the names of witnesses present, as well as what happened and what you felt, can convince the courts of a pattern of behavior that has put you and possibly your children at risk.
Photos or videos of injuries and property damage
People who are abusive often leave behind visible injuries. Pictures of bruises or videos showing how your tooth is now loose could help you prove that you have suffered physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner.
You could also document the damage that they have caused to your property or your home. Smashed phones or holes punched in drywall have a strong association with intimate partner violence, so documenting your spouse’s property destruction can help show their overall violent behavior.
Screenshots or archives of threatening or abusive messages
Digital devices and social media have made it easier than ever before for abusers to track and harass others. However, threats and insults issued via text message or over social media platforms create a lasting record that you can preserve. Nasty messages or threatening posts about you could all help build your case in the eyes of the courts.
Reaching out for help when you want to leave a situation involving domestic violence can help you protect yourself and make the change of successful and positive one.