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How are Divorces Affected by Domestic Violence?

If there is a history of domestic violence in your marriage, consult with your attorney about how this may impact your divorce.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, the most important thing is making sure that you are safe. After you are in a safe location and have sought an order of protection against domestic violence, which is a type of restraining order, divorce is something that you may start thinking about. As you consider your options, here is what you should know about how divorces are affected by domestic violence in Tennessee.

Grounds for Divorce

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you will likely file for divorce on fault-based grounds such as inappropriate marital conduct, which may also be referred to in pleadings as “cruel and inhuman treatment or conduct towards the [other] spouse as renders cohabitation unsafe and improper.” You attorney can advise you about the grounds for divorce that you should plead.

Child Custody

In addition to impacting the grounds for divorce, domestic violence may have an impact on a child custody arrangement, too. While parents are normally encouraged to work together to develop a parenting plan that addresses each parent’s parenting time and other parental responsibilities, if the court finds based upon reliable evidence that one parent in the relationship has a history of physical abuse of the other parent, Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-6-406 provides that the court shall limit the parent’s residential time in the parenting plan if the limitation is found to be in the best interest of the minor child. The court could also require parenting time to be supervised. Therefore, it is likely in a domestic violence case, the court would choose to award primary custody to the victim of the violence rather than the perpetrator.

Property Division and Alimony

Usually, the marital property is divided without regard to marital fault in proportions that are just. However, if one party squandered a large portion of the party’s collective assets in order to have an affair, a judge will likely keep this in mind in determining how property should be divided. That being said, courts in Tennessee may consider marital fault, and other factors, when making a determination about alimony. To learn more about how domestic violence may play a role in affecting the outcome of your property division award and alimony settlement, talk with a family law attorney.

Get the Help and Support You Need

At the law office of Judy Oxford, Attorney at Law, we empathize with what you are going through if you are a victim of domestic violence. I can help you with an emergency order of protection and trying to get temporary custody of your children while you figure out your next steps. Once you are safe, I can also assist you in filing for a divorce and understanding how the history of domestic violence in your marriage may impact the outcome of your divorce.

To get the help and support you need, please call my law office directly today torequest a consultation.I work hard to help clients going through challenging times and provide valuable legal assistance.