Domestic Violence and Divorce: Spousal Abuse in the Presence of Children

Domestic violence impacts millions of families. In addition to the physical harm it causes, it has wide-reaching emotional effects on children.

In a divorce case, domestic violence influences decisions related to child custody even if the child hasn’t been physically harmed. Alimony and the division of assets are also affected by issues related to abuse.

Knowing how abuse influences the outcome of a divorce is essential to achieving the custody and spousal support agreement you need.

Domestic Violence Affects Child Custody

The presence of domestic violence affects the legal and physical custody of a child in a divorce. Family law courts typically seek to remove a child from any environment in which there is a threat of abuse.

If any previous record of domestic violence or protective orders exist, the parents must present all of the information to the courts as early in the custody decision process as possible.

Family courts may grant custody to an abusive parent in cases where measures have been put in place to protect the child.

These include supervised visitation, protected custody exchanges, the completion of treatment programs, and the use of a posted bond. Claims of domestic violence may also warrant an investigation by the courts.

Separation of Assets

Spouses who have suffered from domestic violence may be granted a larger portion of the marital assets in a divorce.

This is more likely to occur if the abusive spouse has been found to have damaged the financial wellbeing of the family.

Abused spouses are often unable to meet their responsibilities at work and may lose their jobs as a result. Others may find it difficult to secure long-term employment.

The abused spouse may also be more likely to receive a higher amount of spousal support during and after the divorce has been completed.

Even in cases where the domestic abuse has not directly affected a spouse’s employment, family law courts can still base their alimony decisions on the evidence provided.

Protecting Your Safety and Legal Rights in Divorce

A skilled family law attorney is the best resource for keeping you and your child safe in a divorce involving domestic violence.

Victims are entitled to full protection under the Family Violence Act, giving them the support they need to end an abusive marriage.

A protective order can be used to ensure that you maintain ownership or access to your property as well as any spousal support you need.

Protective orders must be filed according to specific legal requirements, which your attorney will help you navigate as you move through the legal process.

Protective order petitions require a minimum of one domestic abuse act committed against the victim, and it must include detailed evidence to support the claim.

The petition must be verified in the presence of a notary in order to be processed by the courts. Your attorney will guide you through this process and provide you with the necessary resources.

Being the victim of domestic violence in a marriage may entitle you to a larger share of the marital assets, spousal support, and physical or legal custody of your child.

Getting the outcome you want in your divorce case is essential to moving forward and creating a secure future for you and your family.


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