Can Spousal Abuse Affect Divorce?
Around 40% of couples that got through a divorce admit that a highly contributing factor to the divorce was domestic violence. You can easily file for a divorce on these grounds – but how exactly will it affect your case?
Well, unlike instances when couples simply “fade out of love,” spousal abuse may cause your divorce case to go slightly differently. In this article, we are going to talk about how that can happen.
Can Spousal Abuse Be Grounds for Divorce?
Usually, the proceedings of a divorce may be put into two categories, as follows:
- At-Fault Divorce
In some states, it is required for the spouse who is asking for a divorce to bring some sort of reason for why they are looking for a divorce. This can be adultery, abandonment, felony conviction, and substance abuse. Spousal abuse is also recognized in some states, although you need to prove your claims for that.
2. No-Fault Divorce
No-fault divorces, as the name suggests, are a type of divorce that a few states allow for. In this kind of divorce, you do not need to present any fault. You may claim that there are irreconcilable differences between you two and that you were not able to rebuild your marriage even after separation. This should be enough to grant you your divorce.
How Are Court Decisions Affected
Once the divorce has been granted, several decisions may be taken when determining the rights of each spouse. Here is how spousal abuse can influence a judge’s decision.
- Child Custody
One of the first things that spousal abuse can affect in the divorce is child custody. Law officials will have the child’s best interest in mind. Therefore, if one of the partners has an abusive personality, the children would be going where they are less likely to be threatened.
Around 43.8% of the women and 32.8% of the men in Nevada fall victim to domestic abuse at least once in their life, so officials take this very seriously. A Las Vegas divorce lawyer could easily arrange for the abused spouse to obtain custody of the children, on the ground that their spouse is likely to abuse the children after the divorce.
Spousal abuse can also affect just how often the abuser can see the children. For instance, during a divorce where no spousal abuse was signaled, both parents would likely have the same rights to unsupervised visits or bonding with their children. However, if the ex-spouse has a history of abuse, the judge may issue supervised visits or even protective custody.
Spousal abuse can occasionally affect a judge’s decision on how alimony is given. Alimony is a court-ordered form of spousal support that one of the spouses needs to provide for the other for a specific amount of time.
Generally, many judges don’t order spousal support as a form of punishment, but to help the spouse that is suffering most financially due to the marriage. Sometimes, the abused spouse may be the one having to pay alimony to the abuser.
That being said, certain judges will also look at the situation. For instance, if the abuse caused enough injury to compromise their ability to work, then a judge may order the abuser to pay alimony. Depending on the circumstances, the abuser may even need to provide financial aid even after retirement, as the divorce caused them to lose their financial freedom.
Other states such as California may also disqualify an abusive spouse from getting alimony altogether.
3. Asset Separation
A spouse that has suffered through spousal abuse can receive a bigger share of the assets after the divorce. This is the case if it’s proven that the abusing spouse caused the financial downfall of a family.
An abused spouse may frequently be unable to meet their responsibilities at work. For example, a woman suffering from battered woman syndrome may try very hard to cover their injuries, even at the cost of their job. The PTSD-like anxiety symptoms can make it difficult for them to function in society, and their injuries may prevent them from doing any physical work.
Even if the employment of the abused spouse has not been affected, a judge may still decide to give the abused spouse higher alimony or share of the assets. This is to provide compensation for what the abused spouse has suffered.
The Bottom Line
If your divorce is a result of domestic violence, you need to proceed carefully. Depending on the state that you are in, not only will you receive compensation and benefits, but you may also receive protection. You should discuss these matters with your lawyer.