Domestic violence is an unfortunate reality for millions of families across the country. According to the latest data from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), one in three women and one in four men have been physically abused by a partner. Domestic violence not only leaves physical scars, but severely impacts the victim’s emotional well-being.
For many couples, divorce is the only way to end the pattern of physical abuse. Domestic violence can change the way divorce is negotiated. Matters of child custody, marital property, settlement, and alimony are all affected by domestic violence. The following are some of the primary ways that domestic violence affects how couples approach divorce.
Filing for Divorce
Divorce laws vary by state. Some states, including New Jersey, offer “no-fault divorce” where neither couple is assigned blame for the break-up. In no-fault states, though spouses cannot cite domestic violence as a reason for divorce, they can bring up evidence of abuse during their case.
Division of Assets
In some cases, a spouse’s behavior – including physical or emotional abuse– can influence how the courts divide the marital estate. This is especially likely when the abuser’s behavior impacted the couple’s financial status. For example, if an abused wife was unable to work because of her injuries, she may receive a larger portion of the marital estate.
For many divorce cases, a judge will consider if domestic abuse in some way affected a couple’s financial status before deciding alimony. Some abusers use money as a means to control and further victimize their spouse. The abuser may prevent their partner from working or becoming financially independent. In such cases, the victim may receive alimony.
Domestic violence within a marriage is likely to influence how child custody is determined. Even if the children have never been exposed to domestic violence between the parents, an abuser is less likely to gain primary custody. A parent that abuses their child or even exposes their children to domestic violence is even less likely to gain custody.
Abused parents can protect their children by requesting supervised visits, public custody exchanges, and prohibited overnight visits. Parents with concerns about the safety of their children in the company of their ex-spouse should alert their lawyer immediately. In some cases, the abusive spouse’s parental rights may be terminated altogether.
Violence between partners and spouses is often a hidden secret; yet it is more common than many realize. On a typical day, more than 20,000 victims call domestic abuse hotlines across the country. The Haddonfield domestic abuse lawyers at Kearney, Burns & Martone protect and defend victims of domestic abuse throughout the divorce process. We handle every divorce with skill and compassion, helping clients achieve the best resolution possible for them and their children.
Haddonfield Divorce Lawyers at Kearney, Burns & Martone Advocate for Victims of Emotional and Physical AbuseContact us online or call 856-547-7733 today to schedule a consultation with an experienced Haddonfield divorce lawyer at our Haddon Heights office. Kearney, Burns & Martone proudly serves clients throughout Camden County, Burlington County, Gloucester County and throughout South Jersey.