Effect Of Family Violence On Divorce

Domestic violence can affect almost all aspects of your divorce. This means you should educate yourself on these effects if you are planning your divorce strategy and either of you has been accused of domestic violence. Here are some of the aspects of your divorce that domestic violence can affect.

Child Custody

Child custody is one aspect of divorce that is almost guaranteed to be affected by family violence. This is likely to be the case whether the violence was directed towards the child or towards the parent. The rationale is that the effect of violence is not just about the physical injuries it causes, but also the psychological injury and scarring it creates. However, violence towards the child or in the presence of the child will always carry greater weight than violence towards other family members.

For this reason, the violent parent is unlikely to get physical custody of the child. Even the visitation rights of the violent child may be curtailed; in some cases, supervised visitation may be prescribed.

Spousal Maintenance

Domestic violent will not automatically affect spousal maintenance determination. However, the effects of domestic violence may have a hand in the calculation of spousal support. For example, an abusive spouse may lock their partner out of the family finances and deny them the opportunity to advance their career or business. 

In such a case, if the abusive spouse is the one who is supposed to pay alimony, the amount to be paid may be increased to take into account the effect of the abusive spouse's actions on their partner's current financial situation.

Asset Division

Just like alimony, asset division may not automatically be affected by domestic abuse, but the effect can still be felt in other ways. Most likely, a spouse whose abusive tendencies affect their marital assets may receive a lower share of the marital assets as compared to their spouse.

Consider an example where your partner one day burns your car in a fit of rage and jealousy because they suspect you are cheating on them. In such a case, your partner's actions have clearly cost you money in the form of the damaged car. Therefore, your share of marital assets may be increased to proportionally reflect the amount you would have received if the car had been part of the division equation.

Talk to your divorce attorney for more information on how domestic violence can impact your divorce. The lawyer can also help you minimize the negative effects of the domestic violence claims on your divorce agreement.