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How do you prove emotional abuse in court?


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#1 peach_papoose

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 06:31 PM

If it comes down to it and I have to prove that I was emotionally abused, what is considered evidence? I was reading case law on the Canlii site and kept seeing instances where a wife would allege that her husband emotionally abused her, yet the judge wasn't convinced.

I think it might be pertinent to prove it when I'm trying to change custody from the current situation of them living under the rule of their abusive and controlling father, i.e. to show that he abused me and has not done anything to change himself and is still doing it now to the kids.

I thought maybe my hand-written journals detailing the abuse might be of use, but I don't know. I can't find any case law where it mentions such a thing for evidence.

How DOES one prove emotional abuse? I don't want to go to court stating "he abused me" but not have sufficient evidence to back it up and have the judge say, "She says he abused her, but he denies it, so therefore it didn't happen."

#2 peach_papoose

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 06:38 PM

From the court reports I'm reading it looks like judges want to know what led up to the instances of alleged emotional abuse, and when questioned it is often the case that the victim "cannot remember".

With my journals, I wrote out details that talked about what led up to the abuse sessions. And it wasn't just "sessions" of abuse I wrote about, but the ongoing-ness of the abusive treatment.

I wonder if this will be helpful for me.

#3 peach_papoose

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 06:41 PM

I keep thinking of things... adding to this thread, kinda like talking to myself... but feel free to jump in and interrupt me! ;)

The tape recorded phone calls. But would the judge allow those to be played, that's the question. They do demonstrate how the abuse sessions start, showing me saying or asking something and the abusive ex twisting my words, talking over me, calling me names, etc.

#4 Jezreel

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 07:05 PM

I would develop a mental oppressive disease like anorexia nervosa or, start to cut yourself to get some attention (just kidding) I was an anorexic when I was a teenager. Sorry to say, most courts do not recognize the strong ones that get through the abuse and develop no wierd conditions like I did when I was a teenager, or, young adult. The court today, they need to have proof, that is unless you have a great relative or friends who have witnessed the senarios and will go to bat for you. It is very hard to prove, just like "verbal abuse" is not protective for the victims. The idea about tape recording is a wonderful idea. I am sorry that you are suffering.

#5 gettingoverit

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 07:09 PM

Shouldn't your lawyer have some of these answers?

This is something I am wondering about also.
Journals, medical records may have what was talked to a doctor about and therapist - all based on what was said from my prespective.

Do you have anyone that has witnessed the abuse?

#6 peach_papoose

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 07:11 PM

Do you have anyone that has witnessed the abuse?


Mainly my kids.

Also my sister and my best friend have seen/heard some of it.

#7 gr8rn

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 07:14 PM

Peach, I am hoping you get to testify at all. If you get that far, then any journaling you have done is evidence. I gave my attorney enough evidence, including taped drunken voicemail messages on my phone, my children were ready and willing to testify, and we provided all this evidence in the "discovery" phase. Even with all this against him, his attorney still pushed for payment from me to him, and SHE GOT IT!!!
r a
We never went to trail. I ended up being forced by the judge to agree to this. My attorney told me to take the papers right away and file for child support, which I did and it ends up a wash for 8 months,

but I had so much evidence, police reports (19 from my home alone in the 5 years he lived here) he had arrest reports from after I filed for divorce, harassment, drunk and disorderly, terroristic threats. and still his attorney pushed for an agreement which my attorney kept trying to get me to sign. I came in to his office every single time saying I wanted a trial I wanted my day in court and he kept insisting I had a good case for abuse.

PUSH your attorney hard for a hearing. From my experience they all want to settle out of court.
edited to add...I know your fighting the custody agreement, you have your divorce. But what I am saying is they may take the recomemndations and push for an amended agreement and try not to do the full custody hearing in court.

#8 peach_papoose

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 07:18 PM

I would develop a mental oppressive disease like anorexia nervosa or, start to cut yourself to get some attention (just kidding)...


Actually, I was diagnosed with clinical depression during the final four or so years of being with puckhead, and I told my doctor about the abuse and made notes about it on my calendar where my doctor had me keep track of how I was feeling and I made the little notes as reference for what was going on to affect me so negatively.

I was on antidepressants three times. First time was for about 10 months, then the depression came back in a few months, so I went back on them. (Well, duh, how's medication gonna stop someone else from abusing me? All it did was help me cope with it for awhile). Then the second time it was also around that same length of time. Then the third time I stayed on them for about two and a half years coz I just started them while on my way out of the abusive relationship and then I was faced with the loss of custody of my four oldest kids and all kinds of other added stress from puckhead's vengeance for me daring to leave him...

BUT, finally I DID get better and went off antidepressants in July 2006 and never got to where I needed to go back on them. I have the odd down day but it's never been weeks on end of that old hopeless feeling and the physical carp that goes along with it.

#9 peach_papoose

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 07:36 PM

I found this snippet of the judge's words in a court report interesting:

"I found the husband to be the most disrespectful person who has ever appeared before me. Even allowing for the stress of representing himself in a lengthy trial with a myriad of legal and emotional issues, I found his manner excessive and almost uncontrollable. He continually disregarded my instructions/admonishments, showed no regard for courtroom decorum, and interrupted and erupted whenever he felt like it. His self control was minimal."

I haven't read the whole report yet but I wonder if THAT kinda gave away the abusiveness issue to the judge.

Here's another snippet from it:

There is no doubt that the husband loves the children. However, a joint custodial arrangement requires respect and co-operation between the parents and I see no evidence that the husband is capable of putting aside his own issues to work with the wife in the interests of the children.

Accordingly, the wife will have sole custody of the children.


That last sentence would be my dream come true.

Here's the whole document.

#10 iwantanewme

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 07:39 PM

I found this snippet of the judge's words in a court report interesting:

"I found the husband to be the most disrespectful person who has ever appeared before me. Even allowing for the stress of representing himself in a lengthy trial with a myriad of legal and emotional issues, I found his manner excessive and almost uncontrollable. He continually disregarded my instructions/admonishments, showed no regard for courtroom decorum, and interrupted and erupted whenever he felt like it. His self control was minimal."

I haven't read the whole report yet but I wonder if THAT kinda gave away the abusiveness issue to the judge.

Here's the whole document.



Yes, but aren't most emotional/verbal abusers very charming to others? I know mine is. If they truly believe they are going to be taken for a ringer, they are going to be put on their best face and act appropriatly. Talk to your lawyer, or if you don't have one I think documentation is your best defense. I have a text message of him saying he was going to end his life because of the way I acted and if I just changed he wouldn't feel this way. I think that is going to be added to my aresenal when the time comes. Jot down anything you have. Small things, big things they all add up.




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