Abuse, physical or mental, is a leading cause of divorce. It is difficult for those who are not in an abusive relationship to understand why anyone would put up with abuse. Due to the proliferation of abuse shelters where battered persons can interact with professionals we are learning more about the psychological profile of abused spouses. People justify remaining in an abusive relationship for a variety of reasons, for example: “I can’t leave because of the kids”; or “I don’t have the ability to get a job”. There are also psychological reasons such as “Co-Dependency” or “The Stockholm Syndrome”. In the Stockholm Syndrome the victim falls in love with the terrorist. Although the frequency of females battering males is higher, when males abuse females, not surprisingly, the physical damage is usually greater. A recent study has revealed that in the year 2000, for the first time, females were more likely to leave a relationship because of verbal abuse than from physical abuse. I believe, as no doubt you do, that abuse in any form is not and should not be tolerated in our society. If there is ongoing abuse in your relationship it is a red flag for professional help.
In Missouri and Kansas, the state legislation has given the “victim” immediate protection from abuse without filing for divorce, annulment ,or separate maintenance. In Kansas the act shall be literally continued to promote the protection of victims. Both states allow for immediate relief (ex parte) for any family or household member if there is an immediate and present danger of abuse. In addition temporary orders can include issues on possession of residence, custody, visitation and child support. The court must hold a hearing on the problem. The respondent must be personally served with notice of the hearing, a copy of the plaintiff’s petition, and the court’s order. At the evidentiary hearing, the petitioner must prove that because of the allegations of abuse and threats he/she is entitled to a full order of protection.
The protection from abuse act will not be used for custodial situations in Missouri cases where there is already a custody determination/order because the abuse courts do not have jurisdiction to do so in such a case. Kansas Courts have directed that the act will not be used as a substitute for a motion to modify custody post divorce.
The Missouri and Kansas judges have broad discretion in the final order of protection. The orders are effective for 12 months and may include: 1) award custody of any minor child born; 2) a visitation schedule; 3) child support; 4) maintenance; 5) ordering respondent to make rent or mortgage payments on a residence occupied by the petitioner; 6) ordering the respondent to pay the petitioner’s rent at a residence; 7) that the petitioner be given temporary possession of specified personal property, such as automobiles, checkbooks, keys and other personal effects; 8) ordering the respondent from transferring encumbering, or otherwise disposing of specified property mutually owned or leased by the parties; 9) ordering Respondent to attend court-approved counseling program designed to help batterers stop violent behavior or to participate in a substance abuse treatment program; 10) ordering the respondent to pay a reasonable fee for housing and other services; and 11) ordering the respondent to pay court costs.
Will You Be Stalked?
Can’t happen to you? Over 8 million women are stalked each year. Was the movie “Fatal Attraction” just fantasy? Over 4 million men are stalked each year. Shakespeare had some insight into human behavior when he said that, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” There are many reasons for stalking. Usually the stalkers believe that if the stalkee “just knew the real me, that they would love me.”
Of course in a divorce one person usually doesn’t want the divorce to happen. Every year surveys are taken regarding what a person wants most in a spouse. Every year males say they want someone who is “fun” and women want “security”. Revenge also is a major motive. Some men adopt an attitude during a divorce that, “if I can’t have her, nobody can”, and the newspapers are replete with reports of spouses killing an “ex” along with the new boyfriend and/or family members who are present.
You should take it seriously if threats are made. Many times the stalker is someone who was “just the nicest person you would ever want to meet” until he is threatened with the loss of his spouse.