When there is a history of abuse in a marriage, the divorce process becomes particularly complex and emotional for separating parties. Domestic violence has a significant impact on several aspects of the divorce proceedings, influencing both the process and outcome.
Shifts the legal process
If parties initially choose to have a collaborative divorce, such as mediation, the court may not allow it and require them to go to trial instead. Collaborative divorce will likely not work in domestic violence cases because there is a power imbalance between parties. Moreover, the abused spouse’s safety will be at risk.
Triggers protective order issuances
Domestic violence victims can request and obtain temporary and permanent restraining orders against their abusers before, during and after the divorce. With an existing protective order, the court applies measures to enforce the order’s terms, such as conducting no-contact hearings and providing separate entrances and waiting rooms for each party.
Affects divorce issue decisions
A history of abuse in the marriage can affect the court’s final decisions, including the results of the following divorce aspects:
- Property division: Courts can consider marital misconduct, such as domestic violence, when determining how they will divide properties. Accordingly, it can influence judges to award a higher percentage to the abused spouse to compensate them for the abuse.
- Child custody and visitation: Courts prioritize the best interests of the child when deciding custody and visitation arrangements. Evidence of domestic violence can lead the court to find the violent parent unfit for custody or unsupervised visitation.
- Spousal support: Domestic abuse history in a marriage can also affect alimony awards. For instance, judges can deny alimony to abusive spouses.
Abuse leaves a permanent scar on the physical, mental and emotional well-being of victims, even after divorce. If you are a victim of domestic violence, know that you do not have to face this challenging situation alone. It is crucial to seek assistance from legal professionals and support organizations to ensure your safety and protection.