Under New Jersey law, domestic violence includes more than just physical abuse. It can include emotional, sexual, and financial abuse as well. These various types of violence can consist of verbal cruelty, isolation, controlling all of the couple’s finances, threats to seriously harm or kill, and more. Such behavior often leads to police involvement, legal action, and divorce. In this blog, we will explore three factors to consider in how domestic violence can affect you and your partner in a New Jersey divorce.
Domestic Violence Can Affect the Grounds for Divorce
In the state of New Jersey, divorce can be filed as either a no-fault or a fault-based action. Under no-fault, neither party alleges any misconduct on the part of the other. This makes for a more streamlined process due to the fact that evidence does not have to be presented and argued in court. In a case where domestic violence has occurred, the abused spouse may file for a divorce under the fault-based ground of “extremely cruelty.”
If you are the abused spouse and wish to file in this way, you will have to provide concrete evidence of the cruelty in court. This may lead to several court hearings and the decision will be left up to the judge. In a no-fault action, you won’t have to worry about what a judge will or will not decide as you and your spouse are generally in agreement that the marriage is broken and judges will abide by this.
In a fault-based divorce hinging on “extreme cruelty,” it would be best to have police reports and a restraining order in place for evidence.
Domestic Violence Can Lead to a Restraining Order
Reports of domestic violence commonly lead to both temporary and permanent restraining orders issued by a court. In a restraining order, the abusive partner will be prohibited from making any type of contact with the abused partner. This will include any type of communication, from texts and emails to phone calls, letters, and even messages sent via third parties. Because of the ban on communication, if a divorce action ensues, communication about any aspect of the divorce will not be allowed to take place directly between the two parties. You will not be able to discuss anything together, from how to make custody arrangements to how to divide up household goods to whether or not the house should be sold.
This could mean more time in court and more time spent working out the details of your divorce working through attorneys or mediators. Furthermore, the abusive parent may be ordered by the court to pay for medical treatment or counseling for the abused party.
Domestic Violence Can Affect Child Custody
Family courts take reports and/or a history of domestic violence very seriously when deciding custody. Parents who have been named as the abusers in restraining orders may have been ordered to stay away from the family home, the other parent, and any children involved to keep kids from being further traumatized by such abuse. This can translate into losing custody of children entirely in a divorce or only being allowed to see children under supervision. The abused spouse can allege in court that the abusive spouse is not fit to act in the parental role; incidences of domestic violence may support this in court.
Need Advice From an Attorney? Call De Tommaso Law Group in Somerset County
As you can see, domestic violence can have an impact on divorce. Understanding your legal rights in any divorce is crucial when you are facing the prospect of this legal action, whether family abuse has led to it or not. Our family law firm can provide the assistance and guidance you need during this difficult time. If you need legal help with domestic violence, obtaining or fighting a restraining order, or with moving forward in a no-fault or fault-based divorce, we urge you to reach out to one of our attorneys today.
Call (908) 274-3028 for a consultation or request one online today.