Divorce can be ugly, but when does the behavior of one of the parties cross the line into domestic violence? The abuses that are considered to be domestic violence are broken bones and bruises, but it can also be less obvious when it takes the form of control and power issues. One Longmont woman knows the story of how emotions can escalate during a divorce.
The woman claims that in hindsight she should have left her common law husband sooner. He once broke her finger in front of her children, and he had a habit of retribution against her when she didn't cooperate with his wishes. Once she decided to end the relationship, he began using the court system as a form of revenge. He reported her to social services, but the reports were deemed inconclusive. He obtained her mental health records and showed them to people, interfered with the medical care of the couple's 8-year-old daughter and failed to follow court orders in the civil case pertaining to domestic relations.
Her common law husband was finally arrested and pleaded guilty to felony domestic violence-related stalking. He was sentenced to a two-year deferred sentence. This means that if he follows the orders in the domestic relations case and doesn't commit any crimes for a period of two years, the felony conviction will be dismissed.
It may be wise to allow a family law attorney to review the case if an individual in the process of divorce feels their soon-to-be ex-spouse is using the court system as a means of revenge. An attorney may be able to recommend steps that will stop or discourage the other party from being a harassing presence in the life of his or her ex-spouse and children.
Source: Times-Call, "Longmont police: That 'ugly divorce' might be a domestic violence crime", Pierrette J. Shields, October 11, 2013