Domestic violence is a serious crime that can occur when one spouse exhibits violent or excessively aggressive behavior against another. While domestic violence was once considered to be a private occurrence within a family, modern law has taken to punishing those accused or convicted of this crime. Even if no criminal charges have been officially filed against your spouse, accusing one person of domestic abuse can affect the outcome of a divorce filing, but maybe not in the way that you expected.
New York allows for a divorce to be considered fault or no-fault. If no-fault divorce is filed, the breakdown of the marriage is simply attributed to irreconcilable differences. However, filing for a fault divorce based on the grounds of domestic violence can drastically change the outcome of the divorce settlement.
What areas will charges impact?
Most significantly, the court will alter the way that child custody is granted in the context of domestic abuse. Child custody and visitation rights are determined by the court to be in the best interests of the child involved in the case. If domestic violence can be proven in a divorce case, your spouse may lose their right to custody and only be allowed limited visitation rights to the children.
In addition to considering domestic violence, the court will also examine:
- Ability to provide and care for the child
- Relationships between the parent and child
- Wishes of the child
- Willingness of the parent to encourage a relationship
Since domestic violence is a serious charge that has a large impact on the well-being of a child, the court will attach weight to that finding. However, before making any final decision to grant custody, the judge will need to identify specific instances of domestic violence.
Since it is generally in the best interests of the child to have a relationship with both of their parents, the court may grant some form of custody to the other parent. In these cases, you must take extra methods to protect yourself from any harm and be alert to any instances of abuse your child may be exposed to.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, contact law enforcement right away. After you have received the necessary help, a divorce attorney at The Virdone Law Firm, P.C. can work with you to get through your divorce.