If the abuse is physical or violent in any way, or is verbal but threatens physical violence (“I’ll burn the house down with you in it”), you may qualify for a restraining order or an order of protection. In addition, this type of violence can be a factor in property distribution and alimony if your state considers the reasons that the marriage broke down in property division and alimony orders. Therefore, even if you elect not to obtain a restraining order or order of protection, it may still make sense to raise violence as an issue pertinent to your case. For more on restraining orders, click here. For more on an order of protection, click here.
If you have been subjected to abuse that is predominantly verbal: badgering, insulting, screaming and the like, but which doesn’t include threats to physically hurt you, then you are probably not entitled to a restraining order or order of protection in most jurisdictions. This type of abusive behavior, however, may be considered “fault” in those jurisdictions which consider the reasons that the marriage broke down in property division and alimony orders. You may also use this information in a custody dispute, as evidence of your spouse’s deficiency as a parent. You will need to discuss this with your attorney to decide if it would be worthwhile to pursue a fault claim on this basis.
Other types of abuse include threats toward your children. If the abuse is either physical or of a violent nature toward your children, or involves threats to kidnap them, then you may be able to apply for and receive a restraining order or order of protection on behalf of your children. This is described in more detail in a later section of this chapter.
Excerpted from Your Divorce Advisor: A Lawyer and a Psychologist Guide You Through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce (Simon & Schuster/Fireside 2001). For more information: http://www.yourdivorceadvisor.com/.
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- Domestic Violence and Abuse
- If You are at Risk for Violence
- Temporary Restraining Order
- I am at Risk for Violence?
- What if My Child has Witnessed Violence