Domestic violence has become something that more adults are comfortable discussing. Unfortunately, even understanding that the public opinion on domestic violence has changed, many adults experiencing domestic violence are afraid to talk about their experiences. Embarrassment, shame, and fear can prevent a person from disclosing abuse even when he or she is going through a divorce. Knowing why your family court judge needs to know about domestic violence that you and your children are living with can change the outcome of your case.
Possibility of Escalation
Once the divorce process begins, it is possible that the abuse you suffer at the hands of your spouse will escalate. A person who is stressed out about the outcome of a divorce may begin threatening, harassing, and hurting his or her spouse more than in the past. While physical abuse is dangerous on its own, the potential for psychological or financial abuse should not be overlooked. A vindictive spouse may harass a former partner until he or she loses a job or purposefully ruin credit or drain bank accounts. Letting your judge know immediately that there is a history of abuse in your marriage can affect how that judge respond to abuse that occurs during the divorce process.
If abuse continues or escalates during the divorce, it may be necessary to obtain an emergency or temporary protective order. These orders protect you and your children from some common retaliation methods that your spouse might use against you. After the abuse is disclosed and a protective order is in place, your spouse cannot do things such as cut off utilities, stop making payments on a mortgage or vehicle, or anything else designed to punish you for seeking a divorce. Protective orders can also be used to keep a spouse away from mutual children by not allowing the spouse to come near the marital home, the children’s school, or their daycare.
Helps with Safety Planning
The judge hearing your case in family court must provide a fair ruling that is based on facts that are supported by evidence. Establishing that abuse has occurred and presenting evidence may be embarrassing, but it necessary since the judge can only make decisions using information that is presented. After making your judge aware of domestic violence that occurred during the relationship, he or she can work with you and your lawyer regarding safety planning. This planning allows you and your family to prepare for visitations and makes the penalties for any problems or abuse that occurs clear to your former spouse.
Talking to an Attorney
Contacting a lawyer who has handled divorce cases that involve domestic violence is the first step that you should take when seeking to end your marriage. A family law attorney is able to guide you through each part of your divorce and can often help you obtain protective orders if you feel threatened. The compassionate attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are ready to work with you to bring your case to a timely conclusion while helping you and your family remain safe. Contact our conveniently located Atlanta metro area offices today to schedule a discrete consultation.