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Early Warning Signs of Domestic Abuse


In marriages in which domestic violence is a factor, it often comes as a shock to the victim when a partner acts out in a threatening or violent manner. Despite the abuser’s apologies afterwards and any vows they make to change their behavior, these tend to not be isolated incidents. Domestic violence often escalates with time and can leave the victim feeling trapped and hopeless. 

It is important to be aware that help is available, both once domestic violence occurs and at the earliest stages. Understanding the signs of an abusive relationship before it has a chance to escalate further can spare you years of heartache, as well as potentially life-threatening injuries. Today, the New Jersey family law attorney at the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards shares some of the early indicators of which you need to be aware. If you need legal counsel, reach out to us for a consultation.

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Identifying a Potentially Abusive Relationship

Domestic abuse involves punching, hitting, kicking, shoving, and other types of violent behaviors. It can also take the form of sexual harassment and assualt, verbal abuse such as name calling or putdowns, making threats, or damaging property. People involved in these situations are often shocked when this type of behavior occurs. However, there tend to be warning signs early in a relationship that indicate a potential for domestic violence months or even years before it actually occurs.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the following are clearly identifiable characteristics of unhealthy relationships which could put you at risk for future abuse:

  • Difficulties in communicating about problems or issues within the relationship.
  • Having to hide things from your partner for fear of upsetting them.
  • Dishonesty about their background, family, jobs, past relationships, or finances.
  • A lack of respect, in which your partner acts inconsiderately or frequently disregards your thoughts and feelings.
  • Invasion of privacy, such as listening in on phone calls, reading texts, or opening mail.
  • Controlling behavior, which fails to take into consideration your opinions on important matters.
  • Jealousy over interactions you have with friends, coworkers, or family members.
  • Taking control of finances and limiting your access to funds.

What to do if You Notice Early Warning Signs of Domestic Violence

Denial often plays a major role in domestic abuse situations. The victim may excuse the abusers behavior, blame themselves, or think that it is “normal.” One of the first steps you should take if you have concerns that something is not right in your relationship is to speak with a knowledgeable person you can trust, such as your family law attorney or domestic violence counselor. They can help identify patterns in your relationship that could put you in danger in the future.

It is also important to be aware of the ways in which you can seek protection from abuse. The New Jersey State Police outline the many types of actions related to domestic abuse that can be penalized by law in our state. These include:

  • Stalking
  • Harassment
  • Lewdness
  • Making terroristic threats
  • Criminal mischief
  • False imprisonment
  • Criminal restraint
  • Kidnapping
  • Criminal trespass
  • Theft
  • Destruction of property
  • Assault and battery

When these types of incidents happen or you have reasonable fears that they are likely to occur, you may be able to obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO). This can allow you to take possession of property, such as your home or car. It can also grant you rights to children and financial support, while preventing your partner from approaching you at school, work, or other places. 

Reach Out to Our Middlesex Domestic Violence Attorney

Do not downplay the danger you could be in if your spouse is exhibiting controlling or abusive behaviors. Reach out to the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards to discuss the situation and learn how we can help. To request a confidential consultation, contact our Milltown family law attorney today.

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