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How does a domestic violence accusation affect a divorce case?

When individuals are in a bad place in their relationship, they do and say things they later come to regret. While this behavior is perhaps a reflection of the stress and sadness people are going through, this does not excuse their behavior or make it acceptable, especially when it causes others to feel unsafe.

Unfortunately, different forms of domestic violence are common in marriages that end in divorce. Whether physical, emotional or financial, domestic abuse can severely affect the way that the victim views the world and themselves.

If you are considering divorce and you have either been accused of or the victim of domestic violence, it is important that you gain an informed perspective of how a domestic violence accusation will affect a divorce proceeding.

A fault-based divorce 

It’s likely that a victim of domestic violence will file for divorce in New Jersey on grounds of extreme cruelty, rather than on irreconcilable differences, since this will impact the forms of relief a victim can request due to having suffered serious physical or emotional abuse.

Domestic violence will not necessarily lead to a favorable financial outcome for the victim 

Some people assume that a victim of domestic violence will be set to gain a better financial settlement in a divorce. However, this is not necessarily the case. New Jersey divorce courts divide marital assets based on laws of equitable distribution. There is a specific statute addressing alimony. There are also laws that protect victims of domestic violence and afford them relief to address the damage done as a result of serious abuse.

Domestic violence is likely to affect child custody 

However, the presence of domestic violence does not equate to a victory on other issues. The safety of children is at the forefront of the court’s concern in any child custody case. Therefore, any accusation of domestic violence is taken seriously and could affect the outcome of custody arrangements, especially in cases where such violence occurs in the presence of children.

If you are going through a divorce and you’re concerned about how domestic violence accusations will affect this process, it is important that you understand how the law will be applied to your situation.