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Frederick J. Brynn, P.C.

How Domestic Violence in The Home Can Impact a Divorce

Millions of families in America are affected by domestic violence in the home. As the years have gone by, each state has established laws to help protect those who have become victims of domestic violence. These laws address how abuse, sexual assault, and other types of domestic violence impact the decisions made during the divorce process. Victims of domestic violence are strongly encouraged to get legal help and inform their attorney about incidents of harm from your partner.

It can be scary to tell your attorney about incidents of domestic abuse, especially if you fear worsened treatment if the abuser finds out you reported them. But by being forthcoming, only then can your attorney help you take certain steps to protect you. 

Domestic Violence and Cruel Treatment

Depending on your state law, the only option you may have when filing for divorce is to choose a “no-fault divorce”. In other words, you cannot file for divorce specifically because you are a victim of domestic violence. However, in other states, you may be permitted to use domestic abuse as the main grounds for divorce. But keep in mind that if you do live in a state where you can only choose no-fault divorce, you can still bring forward evidence about your spouse’s harmful actions during court.

When filing for divorce, you may be able to list your reason as “cruel treatment” or “domestic violence”. But once again, what the paperwork entails and your options for reasoning will depend on the state you live. By visiting an attorney near you, you can find out about what applies to the state you reside in.

Violence and Child Custody

When judges make a decision about child custody, they will put the needs and wellbeing of the child first. So when they hear that domestic violence has occurred in the home, they will likely want to know more and evidence must be brought forward to support claims. If a spouse is hurting the child or someone else in front of them, the victim spouse has more of a chance to obtain full custody. It can hinder the abusive spouse’s case even if the child wasn’t aware that violence occurred. When visiting with your attorney, a big focus will be on gathering evidence to sway the court decision into your favor.

Additionally, the court system can enforce various measures to help protect the victim’s spouse and child from abuse. A judge may order that the violent spouse can visit the child but cannot have them stay overnight, and must be in the presence of a professional appointed by the court. It is important that you notify the court and your Tampa, FL divorce attorney immediately if you are in fear for you and your child’s safety. In more severe cases, the court may terminate the abusive spouse’s rights of visitation entirely and give full custody to the other parent. If the abusive parent has caused serious injury to their child, the court may order permanent termination of their parental rights.

Thanks to The McKinney Law Group for their insight into family law and how domestic violence can affect the divorce. 

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