How allegations of domestic violence could impact divorce

| Jul 14, 2021 | Divorce, Family Law |

There are many reasons why a couple might file for divorce; however, in Michigan and other no-fault states, one does not need a reason listed when filing for divorce. Nonetheless, many marriages will dissolve due to domestic violence or abuse. In these matters, taking steps to address the domestic violence could impact the outcome of the divorce, making it imperative to understand this no matter which side of the matter one is on.

Domestic violence can look vastly different from one situation to the next; however, there are common descriptions of this form of behavior. Domestic violence could be physical abuse, emotional abuse, controlling who the other spouse can see and interact with, using tactics through children, economic abuse, using gender roles to taunt, mistreat or harass, causing damage to property and sexual abuse.

Impact on child custody

When there is a claim of domestic violence, this could result in a protective order or a no contact order. Depending on the circumstance and other factors in the matters, when there is a charge of domestic violence, that parent may have an order for no contact or limited contact with a child. As such, the biggest impact a domestic violence charge in a divorce proceeding could have is on child custody.

If allegations of severe or extreme domestic violence are proven, this could result in a complete prohibition on visitation. In other matters, it could mean supervised visitation or visitation occurring only in public places and the prohibition of overnight visitations. This is based on the best interests of the child, and if being a witness to domestic violence or being close to the abuser will negatively impact the child, the court will consider this when determining child custody.

Impact on asset division and alimony

Domestic violence could also impact the division of marital assets, as the other spouse’s behavior during the marriage could determine how assets are split. For example, if economic abuse or property damage was involved, this could result in the victim spouse getting a larger share. As such, this could also impact alimony with regards to the amount and the length of time it is owed.

Whether one is the victim spouse or the alleged abuser, it is important to understand how claims of domestic violence could impact the divorce process. Additionally, these assertions could impact the outcomes within the order, such as child custody or a protective order in place. Therefore, it is important to gain more knowledge of the situation so one can take proactive steps to protect their rights and interests during the divorce process.