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Relationships: I know why the caged spouse sings

Tonight's blog entry was written by our Attorney in Savannah, David Purvis.

"The caged bird sings

with fearful trill

of the things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom"

    -Excerpted from " I Know Why the Caged Bird sings" by Maya Angelou


I speak with many people who fall under the "caged bird" category. They have spent years, and in some cases, a lifetime, in a dominated relationship with their spouse. This domination may sometimes take the form of physical abuse, but often, the tears shed in our office are over recounting the years of emotional and mental abuse.


This emotional and mental abuse takes a variety of forms. A common thread throughout many of these situations is that the other spouse controls all of the finances and may only allow the spouse in my office a small allowance with which to purchase groceries, if any money is extended at all.

Eventually, the relationship comes to a tipping point and the marriage can no longer go forward. Often, it's at this point when the dominating spouse really becomes a tyrant by tightening the purse strings in an effort to prevent the other spouse from being able to hire an attorney to represent them in their divorce and by making threats, usually masked as "legal knowledge" in an effort to control the whens, whats, and hows of the upcoming divorce. Again, the effort and desire to control is omnipresent and sickening to watch.


In my Savannah office, I often consult with people who immigrated to the United States as a result of their marriage to an American citizen. Once here, they were often not allowed to leave the home except for necessary errands and have been prevented from assimilating into the culture of our country by not being taught to drive or not being allowed to acquire a driver's license or not being allowed to develop their own network of friends. A common fear from a person in this situation is what life will be like going forward in an unfamiliar country or whether they can return home to their native country and how that will affect their ability to maintain custody of their children.

One of the true values of our firm is that we are not only well versed in family law, but we are also very experienced with international law issues as they apply to family law.


One specific aspect of The Manely Firm that I am particularly proud of is that we have a long and rich history of representing "caged birds'. We take pride in standing up for people who have lived for years in oppressive, abusive environments. We are often able to petition the court to require that the financially dominant party be responsible for support of our client and their children during the divorce process, including payment of attorneys fees. We realize that, at a minimum, giving half an hour of our time for a free confidential consultation can have a huge impact on the "caged bird's" outlook on the pending divorce and the realization that they deserve a lawyer who willtand up for them and put an end to the domineering spouse's "shot-calling".


If your marital situation makes you feel like a "caged bird" or you know a friend who is a "caged bird", feel free to call and schedule a free confidential consultation to come to our office and sing. We will listen to your song and we can talk about what steps can be taken to free you from your cage. 

David Purvis

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