According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 31 percent of men and 37.5 percent of women are victims of domestic violence in Kentucky.
Considering how many people are affected by violence and abuse in their relationships, it is essential to understand the impact domestic violence can have on family legal matters, including divorce.
Financial security and stability can be a concern for victims of domestic violence or abuse. It is important to know that courts divide property between spouses in a manner that is just and equitable. Typically, this means each person will receive about half of the marital assets. However, the courts can adjust division, if appropriate.
Further, a person may be eligible to pursue spousal support. This can be an especially valuable option for victims of financial abuse or economic control to consider.
Child custody and visitation
Violence can have a dramatic impact on child custody and visitation. A parent with a violent or abusive history could have his or her parenting time and rights reduced, depending on the best interests of the child. Additionally, a parent may seek temporary custody if the other person poses an immediate threat to the child.
Courts can also establish rules for visitation and custody exchanges that minimize the risk of endangerment to parents and children. Such measures might include ordering supervised custody or requiring custody exchanges to occur in a neutral, monitored location.
Victims should also know that they may pursue orders for protection to keep a dangerous parent away from them and their children.
Dispute resolution methods
Whether the abuse is physical, emotional or financial, it can affect the process through which divorcing parties resolve legal matters. For instance, in cases where a spouse was manipulative and controlling, cooperative options like mediation may not be effective.
In cases involving domestic violence, it can be especially important for victims to have support from various professionals. A forensic accountant could help uncover concealed assets; an attorney can provide legal guidance and support; counselors and therapists could give testimony of the occurrence and effects of abuse.
These parties can help a victim of domestic violence understand their options and pursue desirable outcomes.