There are many reasons why a married couple may decide to file for divorce, yet one of the more serious is due to one of the partners suffering from some form of domestic violence. These cases are always extremely sensitive and must be dealt with carefully and responsibly by all parties, especially if there are children involved.
Most people typically think of domestic violence as a form of physical abuse; however, it’s essential to understand that it includes several other aspects, such as mental and emotional abuse. These types of abuse can manifest in a variety of ways, such as when a partner isolates a spouse, limits their freedom, controls their money, and verbally insults or humiliates them.
In this article, we will share some divorce and family attorney tips you can follow if you’re going through a divorce or considering filing for one.
Domestic Violence and Allegations
First and foremost, the spouse involved in domestic violence should always seek legal guidance before proceeding with the case. Domestic violence is a serious allegation, and if the case is going to rule in favor of the victim, it must be proven.
If the abuse is proven to be valid, it often results in the accused being deemed unfit to take care of children and may even lose all visiting rights. In addition to this, if the victim has sustained any injuries or damages due to the attacks, the accused may have to pay for treatments and other expenses.
So how can domestic violence be proved? The truth is this is often tricky and is typically a point of contention in cases of this nature. However, here are a few steps you can follow to build some evidence:
- Hire a private investigator
- Secure video/audio evidence
- Have a record of law enforcement involvement
- Move out of the house where the abuse occurred
- Obtain a restraining order
- Seek assistance through the family court
On the other hand, it’s vital to consider wrongful accusations, as they do happen, and they can be very detrimental to the innocent party’s reputation and career. If you feel as though you have been wrongly accused, it’s absolutely essential that you contact a domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible so you can start to build your case.
What Impact Does Domestic Violence Have on Divorce Proceedings?
Each divorce case is independent of one another, making it difficult to make generalizations about what might happen as a result of domestic violence. There are simply too many variables to account for in each situation.
The most important thing to establish in each case is understanding what exactly happened, who was impacted, the severity of the abuse, how long it went on, and what damaged the spouse and children suffered as a result. This will allow the court to determine the custody of any children, whether or not visitation will be permitted, child support payments, alimony, and several other factors.
As mentioned, if you are a victim of domestic violence, it’s paramount that you do what you can to take yourself and your children out of harm’s way.
Ways to Protect the Family
Protecting yourself and your family should be your number one priority in these situations. Do not stay in the house where you are being abused in an attempt to gain hard evidence. Remove yourself and any children from the location, and deal with the divorce proceedings afterward.
The best course of action is to immediately call law enforcement, or if you feel more comfortable, you should confide in a friend and immediately move out of the house. The sooner you seek legal guidance, the better.
Remember, domestic violence does not always have to be physical. Sometimes, emotional and psychological abuse can go on for years without the affected party even realizing that they have been subjected to the abuse, making it even more challenging to break free.
With this in mind, if you are divorcing from your spouse due to abuse, you may want to consider therapy for yourself and any affected children, as the emotion and psychological trauma can remain hidden/dormant for many years.