Abuse and Divorce – Attorney Control
Dynamics in Domestic Violence Divorce

Dr. King


by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.


Is your attorney working for you, literally? Or are you working for him, figuratively?

Many women involved in a domestic violence divorce merely find themselves going from one abusive relationship to another. And then they wonder, how they got from the frying pan to the fire.

Intimate Partner Control

Battered women claim to understand the control dynamics of their intimate relationship once they have accepted that they are, indeed, wearing the abused spouse shoes. They see the imbalance of power within the relationship. They know they are holding the short stick. And they genuinely fear their overpowering partners.

Over time they grow to resent the oppression they experience under his/her control. And they despise the gestures of disrespect, discount and disregard commonplace in their abusive relationship.

So you would think with all this awareness of what they seek to rid themselves of that that would see the same qualities should they exist in another relationship. But they don’t. Here’s why...

Divorce Attorney Control

If you think you are vulnerable when you are in an abusive relationship with your intimate partner, know that vulnerability is relative. Far too often, it is only a fraction of the vulnerability battered women experience in relation to their divorce attorneys.

Once thrust forth into a divorce proceeding in which domestic abuse lurks in the case, another controlling and often abusive relationship forms between the battered spouse and their legal counsel. It’s natural for the litigant…and it is expected by counsel.

From the attorney’s point of view, he/she cannot manage a case in which the litigant is not contained. Counsel must control the client in order for the proceedings to progress “smoothly.”

This control can be assumed diplomatically or outright abusively. The viciousness that some attorneys impose on battered women would turn your stomach. And when you are a battered woman in this relationship, your stomach is in a knot much of the time.

You envision your whole life in this person’s hands. And when children are in the picture, their lives and your relationship with them also rests in your controlling attorney’s hands. More often than not, what this relationship dynamic brings out in battered women unfortunately interferes with accomplishing their goals.

Attorney as Employee, NOT Employer

Given these dynamics, how can battered women become empowered litigants in their domestic violence divorce? Or, can they?

I believe they can if, and only if, they choose to do so. Further, I observe that when they do, they are more often successful in obtaining the outcome they seek for themselves and for their children in their divorce.

For more information about abuse and divorce, visit http://www.domesticviolencedivorce.com and claim your Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights. Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps individuals nationwide end and heal from domestic abuse at home and in court. © Jeanne King, Ph.D. — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention

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Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.