Please type more than three letters in your search query

Coercive Control and Divorce

divorce expert

Coercive Control and Divorce: Navigating Toxic Relationships

Often those in difficult relationships don’t even realise they are victims. We want to explain the complex dynamics of coercive control within marriages, its impact on individuals, and how to navigate the challenging journey towards divorce and recovery.

What is Coercive Control?

Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse that involves a pattern of psychological, emotional, and financial control aimed at creating an unequal power dynamic in a relationship. Perpetrators use tactics such as manipulation, gaslighting, and intimidation to dominate their partners, eroding their sense of self-worth, and often leaving them feeling isolated and helpless.

What are the Signs of Coercive Control?

Identifying coercive control can be difficult, especially if you’ve been living in such a relationship for a long time. Some common signs include:

– Monitoring and controlling your activities, movements, and communications.
– Isolating you from family and friends, and limiting your access to support systems.
– Making you feel responsible for their actions, thoughts, and emotions.
– Using threats, humiliation, or other forms of psychological abuse to assert control.
– Sabotaging your efforts to become independent or maintain financial autonomy.

What impact does Coercive Control have on Divorce?

The effects of coercive control can have a significant impact on divorce proceedings and beyond. Some challenges might include:

– Difficulty making decisions or advocating for oneself during the divorce process due to a lack of self-esteem.
– Fear of retaliation or escalated abuse during the separation.
– Financial dependence on the abuser, which can make it hard to secure legal representation or support oneself after the divorce.
– Emotional trauma that may require ongoing therapy and support to address.

Steps Towards Freedom: A Guide to Navigating Divorce with Coercive Control

– Reach out to a trusted family member, friend, therapist, or support group for help and guidance.
– Document incidents of abuse and control, as well as any financial information or assets.
– Consult a family law solicitor experienced in cases involving domestic abuse and coercive control.
– Develop a safety plan for leaving the relationship and securing your physical and emotional well-being.
– Consider seeking counselling or therapy to help rebuild self-esteem, process trauma, and develop coping strategies for a successful recovery.

How can the law and family courts protect you?

Our experienced and specialist family solicitor, James Maguire, answers the question here.

It could be that you are unsure what is happening in your relationship and often this can be identified at your first meeting with an experienced divorce or family law expert. Coercive control can have devastating impacts on individuals and their ability to navigate divorce and rebuild their lives. By understanding and recognising the signs of this insidious form of abuse, as well as accessing essential support systems, you can take the first steps towards breaking free and regaining your autonomy and self-worth.

For specialist advice on any family law related issue contact Maguire Family Law by email: or telephone:

Contact Us