Domestic Violence in Divorce Cases

There is little historic agreement about how to define and measure domestic abuse in marriage for research purposes. However, known risk markers include growing up in a violent home, socioeconomic factors, personality issues, substance abuse, biology and situational factors.

Both men and women may be victims of domestic violence but women may be four times more likely to suffer serious and potentially life-threatening assault, twice as likely to be victims of repeated assault, and women are more likely to be killed.  Rates of violence are higher when dating, in early marriage, during pregnancy and at the time of divorce.

There are two types of domestic violence, however one size does not fit all and further analysis is usually necessary besides typology. These two types are 1) intimate terrorism and 2) situational couple violence.

Domestic violence can impact children either directly or indirectly. Indirectly, children can witness abuse; directly, children can suffer concurrent abuse. Because of this, it is important to plan ahead regarding child custody and even parenting plans.

Some potential options to consider:

  • The Domestic Abuse Act defines domestic abuse of a family or household member. It also defines “relief”, both ex parte and with notice.
  • Protective Orders: These can be helpful and safer for some victims, but not all. When pursuing a protective order, you want to ask several questions
  1. How will the abusive party respond?
  2. What is the police response in the area?
  3. What relief is needed?
  4. What is the cost of obtaining the order?
  5. What other options are available?
  • No Contact: It is important in cases involving abuse that there is no contact between an abuser and the victim. This is because the abuser is likely to test the victim, most likely through messages or threats carried out by others.