Domestic violence occurs where there has been physical violence between partners or family members. Family violence also occurs when one party uses coercive tactics against another, or there is harassment between parties.
As a family lawyer in Short Hills can explain, if you are involved in a divorce where domestic violence is an issue, you are probably wondering how it will affect the outcome. Family violence is a particularly concerning issue in divorces when custody is contested. Domestic abuse can, in egregious cases, affect the division of property or alimony. But where household abuse 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 household violence because, at times, it is not in the child’s best interests to live with a parent who committed abuse. This can affect who gets custody and when and where the abusive parent can have parenting time. Our Short Hills domestic violence lawyers could help you through the various legal challenges that may occur when household abuse is involved in a case.
If someone has been accused of domestic violence, they should first and foremost consult with a local attorney because these are serious allegations. A legal professional from our team could help protect an accused individual’s rights and work hard to avoid actions such as their children being taken away from them.
Additionally, someone accused of family violence, they should take precautions to limit their contact or exposure to the person accusing them of these types of allegations. If communication must occur because there are children involved, an accused individual should ensure that any contact is via text message or email, and they should make sure that they are not doing anything that could be seen as furthering any domestic violence.
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 household 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. Our Short Hills attorneys could determine how domestic violence may impact a particular divorce case.
If someone is experiencing family violence, there are a lot of resources out there that can help. There are national and statewide hotlines that are available 24 hours a day to help those who are experiencing abuse from a family member. These individuals should also take any steps necessary to remove themselves and their children from that environment to ensure their safety.
The National Domestic Family Violence Hotline is a hotline that can provide lifesaving tools and immediate support to help people experiencing domestic violence find a safe environment. This is more of a resource for someone to use if they are in this type of situation and do not have the tools or know how to get themselves out of that situation.
If a person is claiming that they are experiencing domestic violence, the strategy they would need to use to prove this would depend on the type of abuse they are experiencing. Therefore, if they are dealing with physical violence, evidence may include bruises on their body. If there has been harassing communication going back and forth, a person may use their text messages, emails, or any recordings of those interactions.
When the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) is involved, they may use statements from the children and family members as evidence of domestic violence. If a child has witnessed family violence in the home and is telling the caseworker what they have seen as part of their interview, this also can be used as evidence by the Division.
It is important to note that, despite of all the resources that are out there, it is also important to obtain the assistance of legal counsel. An experienced lawyer in the area could help gather the evidence that is needed to present to the court to show that they are a victim of domestic violence and that they need protection.
In these 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 Short Hills domestic violence lawyers at the Williams Law Group, LLC know how household abuse can affect a divorce and will work hard to ensure you are treated fairly and your rights are not violated during the process. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.