How Does Domestic Violence Affect a Divorce Case?

By Lois G. Schwartz | October 1, 2019

Family Law and Domestic Violence

Unfortunately, many divorce cases involve a history of domestic violence as an aspect of the case. Domestic violence can add complications to divorce proceedings, as allegations of domestic violence can impact:

When there are allegations of domestic violence accompanying a divorce complaint, it is critical for the party alleging abuse to have an attorney to protect his or her rights during the divorce proceedings. An attorney can help with investigating and finding the evidence necessary to prove that domestic violence happened. It will likely be necessary to prove the validity of allegations of domestic violence, and a lawyer can be critical to successfully arguing that a spouse’s history of domestic violence demonstrates that he or she should not be entitled to outcomes of the divorce proceeding that he or she is requesting; for example, arguing that a history of domestic violence shows that a spouse is not fit to have primary physical custody of the couple’s children.

Allegations of Domestic Violence

One of the most common and most successful pieces of evidence to prove domestic violence allegations is police records. Although, in many cases an abused spouse may refuse to contact the police, if there is a history of involvement of law enforcement with a couple, it can help to prove the validity of allegations of domestic violence. Similarly, if there is a history of restraining orders taken out by the party claiming abuse, that can also be used to substantiate the allegations, especially since issuance of restraining orders typically requires a court finding that domestic violence has occurred and that a restraining order is necessary to protect the victim going forward.

In addition, if domestic violence is ongoing immediately prior to or during divorce proceedings, it may be necessary for the victims of the abuse, whether that is just the abused spouse or whether it also includes the couple’s children or other live-in family members, to move away from the abusing spouse. Sometimes it may be necessary for victims to obtain emergency temporary living arrangements until the court becomes involved through a divorce proceeding and more sustainable arrangements can be ordered by the court.

Protecting the Safety of the Family in Divorce Cases

In any divorce case, one of the primary considerations of every party is ensuring that their family is protected. When domestic violence is an aspect of a divorce case, this consideration becomes paramount above all others. If domestic violence was occurring immediately prior to the filing of a divorce complaint or even if it continues during the divorce proceedings, it may be necessary for the victims of the abuse, whether that is just the spouse or whether it also involves the couple’s children or other live-in family, to move out of the house. If divorce proceedings are ongoing, it may also be possible to have the court order the abuser out of the marital home and impose a restraining order. 

Courts can also help victims of domestic violence recover through the divorce process. For example, courts can ensure that victims of abuse receive therapy and other medical and mental health assistance. Courts will also take substantiated allegations of domestic violence into account when making rulings on divorce matters such as child custody.

Contact a Cherry Hill Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Divorce in New Jersey Today

If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or property division, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. Family law attorney Lois Garber Schwartz, Esq. represents clients throughout the state, including Voorhees, Lindenwold, Haddon Township, and Collingswood. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (856) 482-8799 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 1040 Kings Hwy. N., #202, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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    Lois Garber Schwartz

    1040 Kings Highway N., Suite 202

    Cherry Hill, NJ 08034


    Phone: 856-375-8989

    Fax: 856-482-0343