How Does Domestic Violence Affect a Divorce?
If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important to be aware of the impact it can have on your divorce case.
Domestic violence is an unfortunately common problem in Texas. If you find yourself in this situation and it involves your spouse, the best course of action may be filing for a divorce. The courts take a strong stance against abusers. As a result, the rights and best interests of the victims are fiercely protected in these proceedings. The following details what to expect and how accusations of domestic violence are likely to impact your case.
Domestic Violence as Grounds for Divorce in Texas
Texas is considered a no-fault divorce state. This means you do not have to prove wrongdoing on the part of your spouse in order to file a divorce petition. However, there are certain grounds under which you may file, which can end up giving you an advantage in divorce proceedings. Domestic violence, classified as ‘cruelty’ under the Texas Statutes, is one of these grounds.
When physical, emotional, financial, or sexual abuse prevents you from being able to safely live with your spouse, you have the right to list these issues as part of your divorce petition. Of course, your spouse has the right to dispute these claims. Evidence we can gather and present to a judge in your favor include:
- Police reports from previous incidents;
- Medical records that detail injuries you suffer;
- Your own statements and those from friends, family members, or neighbors;
- Photos you may have taken of your injuries;
- Threatening letters, text messages, emails, or voicemails your spouse may have sent.
While you may be reluctant to share the details of what happened in front of a judge, doing so plays an important role in protecting your safety. The judge may issue a protective order preventing your spouse from contacting you or from appearing at your home, job, or other locations. Filing for divorce on domestic violence grounds can also prevent the abuser from draining funds in joint accounts and can end up entitling you to a larger percentage in any resulting divorce settlement.
How Domestic Violence May Impact Your Divorce Proceedings
According to statistics from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), more than 200,000 people are victims of domestic violence each year. In addition to resulting in potential criminal charges, these types of actions can negatively impact the abuser’s rights in divorce proceedings. As the victim, you may be entitled to the following:
- Marital property division: The judge may grant you a greater share of marital property or assets in financial accounts;
- Spousal support: The abuser may be required to pay you alimony or spousal support;
- Child custody: If there are children of the marriage, the judge is likely to restrict the abuser’s rights to visitation.
Our Pearland, TX Divorce Attorney is Here to Help You
In cases involving domestic violence, attorney John Powell III, P.C. acts as a strong advocate on the side of victims. To discuss how we can help you, contact our Pearland, TX divorce attorney today to request a consultation.