How Does Domestic Violence Impact a Divorce?
Regardless of the reason, divorce is a stressful time in anyone’s life. When your marriage involves incidents of domestic violence, it can significantly heighten anxiety during divorce proceedings. If you find yourself ending a marriage in which you suffered abuse at the hands of your spouse, rest assured that your safety should be a top priority for both yourself and the court.
In the state of New York, domestic violence is defined as a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another in an intimate relationship. This control can take many forms, such as:
- Sexual assault
- Verbal abuse
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
- Threats and intimidation
- Other means of terrorization
3 Ways That Domestic Violence Can Affect Your Divorce
If you were abused in your marriage, you might be wondering how incidents of domestic violence can affect divorce proceedings. While every divorce is unique, the presence of spousal abuse can and should impact the legal process. Consider the following ways that domestic violence can impact divorce in New York.
#1. Living Arrangements
In a typical divorce, it isn’t uncommon for couples to continue living in the same dwelling. Not only can moving out place an undue financial burden on one or both spouses, but doing so during legal proceedings can negatively affect your child custody arrangement. In many cases, courts refrain from ordering divorcing couples to change their living situation.
However, this isn’t typical of a divorce that involves domestic violence. Often, it’s necessary for a spouse to file for an Order of Protection against the abusive partner. When it comes to spousal abuse, time is of the essence to prioritize the safety of yourself and any children you may have. Sometimes, law enforcement is relied on to facilitate the removal of an abusive spouse from the home.
At the end of the day, the court will not expect you to continue living with an abusive partner. In many cases, it’s best for the spouses to live separately while the divorce proceedings unfold—regardless of whether a formal protective order has been filed.
Domestic violence can also affect the court’s process and decision regarding spousal support(also known as maintenence) in which one spouse pays the other for a designated period of time.
To be clear, spousal support is never used or considered as a means of punishment in a divorce. While the concept of “fault” in a divorce isn’t considered a stand-alone justification for spousal support payments, the judge will likely consider how the domestic violence has impacted the spouse who has suffered abuse.
For example, if abuse in the marriage injured a spouse to the point that they couldn’t hold a job or fulfill career duties, the court would likely take this into account when determining spousal support.
#3. Child Custody
While each state has its own unique laws regarding child custody, there is one unifying factor across U.S. courts: the judge must always consider what is in the best interests of the child in question.
As you can imagine, domestic violence can and should play a direct role in determining child custody arrangements during divorce proceedings. Generally, where sufficient evidence of abuse is provided in the courtroom, the abusive spouse is unlikely to receive custody.
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Our passionate team at Rubenfield Law Firm brings over 25 years of family law experience to the table. Our skilled divorce attorney has a hard-earned reputation for providing effective and reliable legal counsel to every client we serve in the Long Island area.
Our personalized approach to your case allows us to guide your next steps with compassionate legal guidance and tireless advocacy both in and out of the courtroom. We're committed to handling family law disputes with minimal conflict and stress. When it comes to setting the precedent for the rest of your life after divorce, don't settle for less than superior legal representation.
Are you ending a marriage with a history of domestic violence? You’re not alone. Call (631) 777-7200 or contact us online to request your confidential consultation.