Mental illness and physical abuse


#1

I am at the very beginning of this process. Both me and my children (12 and 6) have been physically and verbally abused for the 16 years I have been married. The physical abuse did not really come into play until the past year and then there were only 3 incidents. The verbal abuse and voilence has been going on for many years.

We relocated to another area of the state a few weeks ago and I decided after more verbal abuse to me and my children that I want a legal separation. I am in the process of renting a home in the neighborhood we left as we are all miserable in the new location. My husband is agreeable and will be moving back to the original area as well when he finds new employment. When I threatend seperation he said he would go to counseling. A lot has come out in his sessions, which he has been very open about, but I am done with the marriage. Throw a monkey wrench into the equation - Me and the children have been stayed with a good family friend who is a single male in the area we came from on several occassions. This was at my husbands request of the friend. The friend and I are probably best friends. We text often and he has been very helpful to me in this situation. We are all (including my husband) are going to be going there to spend Thanksgiving. He has a large house and when I stay I either sleep in a spare bedroom or on the couch. My children have witnessed this. He has also been a huge help to my husband emotionally.

I have two questions:

  1. In cases of physical abuse and mental illness can the pyschiatric records be supponeaed for court if the case is litigated?

  2. I am worried he will accuse me of infidelity due to the amount of texts/phone calls I have made to the above mentioned male friend even though my husband has made the suggestion for me to stay with this person on numerous occassions. My husband has told me that he is jealous of this person. How will this be looked upon in court if it goes to litigation?

  3. Becuase I am the one who will be renting the house in the original location, my husband has asked even with legal seperation if he can stay on the couch while he is interviewing and coming to town on the weekends to see the children. Will this negate the waiting period of seperation to dicorce? Would it be better if I stay out of the house while he is there? Or should I just tell him no?

I currently have no evidence that he will contest a divorce or not agree to mediation. He so far has been very cooperative as he continues to seek professional help for his mental illness.

Thank you for your time.


#2

I am not an attorney but I do know a bit about mental and physical abuse. It does NOT get better…ever. There is a cycle of violence in which the abuser’s anger builds until some event triggers the violence. Afterwards, the abuser feels genuine remorse and tries to make amends. However, the cycle continues and often escalates. Under no circumstances should you subject yourself to the chance that you would be victimized again. This is doubly true for your children. Therefore, I would strongly recommend that you not let the abuser back in your domicile. There are very few abusers who overcome this tendency with therapy. You have been warned.


#3
  1. It is usally up to the judge whether to order that medical records be produced, but it can be requested.
  2. As long as before you were separated, all of your conversations with your friend were friendly conversations, it will be hard for him to prove that there was any infidelity. You can speculate all day about what might happen, but I would wait until he files something or makes a claim against you before reacting.
  3. Isolated incidents of him sleeping on your couch should not stall the year and a day period to file for divorce.