Physical scars might heal, but the mental wounds of spousal abuse often last for much longer. Approximately four million people each year in the United States are directly harmed by domestic violence. A much larger number of people including children, family members, and employers also have their lives disrupted annually due to domestic violence. Statistics show that domestic violence occurs in approximately two thirds of all marriages. While this violence often leaves survivors frightened, there are some steps that they can take to gain control of their lives. If you plan on divorcing a spouse who has committed domestic violence, consider the following important steps to stay safe.
It Gets Better
Once you decide to end a marriage, things often get worse. For one, you have to deal with an angry spouse who can create several challenges regarding custody and property division. This can often result in lengthy and stressful court trials. While this might not be a pleasant process, it is important to remember that many other people have gone through the situation that you are now facing and that things get better on the other side. There is light at the end of the tunnel even though things might temporarily feel darker for a time.
Protective Orders Have Limitations
If you are married to someone who has physically hurt you, protective orders can keep you safe. There are, however, some limitations to protective orders. For one, protective orders expire after a short time, although you can request the renewal of the order indefinitely. Additionally, copies of the protective order must be issued to all of the parties who are involved. If this element is not completed, the protective order will not be helpful. An experienced family law attorney can further explain to you what protective orders are available to you and what they can do.
Find a Support Team
Most people who are navigating the end of a marriage and the accompanying emotional hardships benefit from having one or several people who support them emotionally. In addition to friends and family members, many people gain assistance from mental health professionals including clinical social workers, psychiatrists, and psychologists.
There is No One Right Answer
The exact legal strategy that will offer protection and safety will be different for every person seeking divorce from an abusive spouse. There is no one right strategy, and what works best for you might not work well for others. Some tactics that are commonly used to keep domestic violence victims safe include:
- Giving the victim possession of the family home and excluding the violent spouse from the residence.
- Granting temporary child custody to the victim
- Issuing an order prohibiting the violent spouse from harassing or harming the victim
- Ordering support payments from the violent spouse for the victim and/or the couple’s children
- Requiring the violent spouse to provide the victim with alternative housing.
Speak With an Experienced Family Law Attorney
Divorce is always full of challenges, and can seem even more so when you must separate from a spouse who has committed domestic violence. If you need the assistance of an experienced family law attorney during this difficult time, Vayman & Teitelbaum, P.C. can help.