How Can Domestic Violence Affect a Divorce?

Domestic Violence and Divorce

A divorce is a complex legal action. In a typical divorce, issues such as custody, parenting time, and child support need to be addressed. Many factors can affect the outcome of a divorce, not least of which is domestic violence.

If you are involved in a divorce where domestic violence is an issue, you are probably wondering how it will affect the outcome. Domestic violence is a particularly concerning issue in divorces when custody is contested. Domestic violence can, in egregious cases, affect the division of property or alimony. But where domestic violence will have the most influence is in matters involving the child: custody, parenting time, and thus child support.

These issues involving children can be affected by domestic violence because, at times, it is not in the child’s best interests to live with a parent who committed domestic violence. This can affect who gets custody and when and where the abusive parent can have parenting time.

How domestic violence will affect a divorce depends on the severity of the incidents, who the victim was, and whether the child is safe when with the abusive parent. If the victim was the child’s parent, it is likely that custody will be affected. The abusive parent may not get physical custody but may be given appropriate parenting time, though it may be supervised at first. Upon the Court determining that a Final Restraining Order is to be issued to the victim, the perpetrator must have a Risk Assessment to determine in access to children is appropriate. And, if the abusive parent cannot come into contact with the other parent because of a domestic violence restraining order, the visits may have to take place at a visitation facility, or transfers between parents may occur at a police station. The judge can order these kinds of stipulations to make sure the abused parent is safe but the abusive parent can still exercise his or her parenting time rights.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

In domestic violence situations, the abused parent can seek protection in a domestic violence restraining order. This order will restrain the abuser from physical contact, but it can also give the abused parent temporary physical custody and order the abuser to pay child support. It may also grant the abusive parent appropriate parenting time. Final orders do not expire, but they do not constitute final orders for custody, parenting time, or child support can be issued. Further legal action is often necessary to finalize those arrangements.

Do you have questions about domestic violence? The attorneys at the Williams Law Group, LLC know how domestic violence can affect a divorce and will work hard to ensure you are treated fairly and your rights are not violated during the process. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation so you can work with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.


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