How Does Domestic Violence Affect Divorce?

Silhouette of a woman trapped at home

Divorce is hard enough in the best circumstances, but takes on a whole new dimension once spousal abuse enters the picture, says NYC domestic violence lawyers Tsigler Law. Domestic violence plays a factor in the lives of millions of women and men every year. 

According to the divorce attorneys at Stange Law Firm, it should come as no surprise, then, that it becomes a factor when couples separate. Here’s what you need to know about domestic violence and how it plays a role in divorce.

Defining Domestic Violence

First, you should understand that the precise definition of domestic violence is different from state to state. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t commonly understood similarities about what constitutes abuse, and most agree that it can include the following:

  • Physical violence: This covers violence and inflicting physical harm on a partner.
  • Emotional abuse: This includes verbal abuse, playing mind games, and making your partner doubt themselves through put-downs and mind games.
  • Control and manipulation: Attempting to control details of your partner’s life, such as who they talk to or where they can go.
  • Using children to harm a partner: When you deliberately lie to your children about your partner, filling their head with false narratives, it can cause serious emotional harm.
  • Damaging a partner’s property: Breaking things that belong to your partner as a method of inflicting harm.
  • Sexual abuse: Having sex with your partner against their wishes or using sex as a method of manipulation.
  • Financial abuse: Controlling your partner’s funds, preventing them from holding a job or earning money, and using money as a method of manipulation.

Next, let’s look at how domestic violence can play into a divorce.

Domestic Violence As Grounds for Divorce

In case you were wondering, domestic violence can be cited as grounds for divorce, but it’s on a state-by-state basis. For instance, in no-fault divorce states, there’s no requirement to prove that the other partner did something “bad” to trigger divorce. 

In an at-fault divorce state, though, you might have to show some grounds for divorce, in which case, domestic violence serves as a valid reasoning. In some regions, the term “domestic violence” isn’t even used, but the idea is the same — if your partner is abusive, it’s a reason to obtain a divorce.

How Domestic Violence Might Affect Divorce Proceedings

Courts take domestic violence seriously. As a result of domestic violence, the victimized partner may have a protective order put in place, could have the abusive partner’s contact with children limited, and may be looked upon more favorably when it comes to the division of marital assets or alimony decisions.

Wrapping Up

Domestic violence is a serious topic, and it’s given the due level of care that it deserves in divorce court. They can impact multiple factors in divorce proceeding, so be sure you consult with your lawyer to learn more details about how it might come into play if you and your partner are separating.