Several studies have looked at the stress that the pandemic has put on relationships. It has created an environment where individuals experiencing high stress events may take it out on an unexpecting spouse. Domestic violence between couples can come in the form of physical, emotional, psychological or economic abuse. To that end, a UCDavis article noted that the pandemic, like other kinds of disasters, exacerbates the social and livelihood stresses and circumstances that can lead to violence amongst couples.
Specifically looking at trends in reported cases of domestic violence since the pandemic shutdowns began in early 2020, a Time article noted that US police departments reported increases in incidents of domestic violence across the country. According to American Journal of Emergency Medicine, domestic violence cases increased by 25 to 30 percent globally in 2020. Another major contributor to the increase in violence amongst couples is the necessity to isolate oneself in an effort to social distance. Isolation has always been a powerful weapon for abusers as it reduces opportunities for family and friends to observe the signs of abuse. Further, when there is little to no time apart from one another, physical and emotional abuse can escalate even further.
Community-based organizations and local municipalities have created programs, grants, counseling, job-based skills training and shelters to assist abused spouses with breaking away from an abusive spouse. There are instances where the abuse is less severe and the couples are able to eliminate the abusive behavior through therapy and counseling. However, often times domestic abuse leads to significant trauma and the abused party is left with no other alternative than to petition the Court for a divorce. Georgia has 13 statutory grounds for divorce outlined in O.C.G.A. §19-5-3. In particular, one cause of divorce in Georgia that specifically addresses domestic violence is “cruel treatment”. In Georgia, cruel treatment consists of the willful infliction of pain, bodily or mental, upon the complaining party, such as reasonably justifies apprehension of danger to life, limb, or health. Additionally, a divorce action based on cruel treatment could result in a more favorable final disposition for the plaintiff. Most jurisdictions in the Georgia have standing orders that protect against harassment or any type of physical or verbal threats by either party.
The Faucette Law Firm represents clients throughout metro Atlanta area in all matters related to contested and uncontested divorce, child support, child custody, spousal support, legitimations and modifications. If you are in an abusive relationship and would like to discuss your options contact our law firm today for a consultation.