The act of domestic violence is nasty business. It can encompass a number of different activities depending on the way in which they are enacted. The abuser may use psychological, physical, or emotional means to inflict pain and control on the abused. Any of these things fall into the category of domestic violence and they are all viewed with equal gravity.
A divorce that is brought about by domestic violence will be considered an At Fault proceeding. The abuser is At Fault for causing harm to the abused regardless of any other circumstances. At Fault divorce judgments may or may not see a change in property division. In extreme cases, such as attempted murder or an egregious assault, some courts have awarded a property division entirely to the abused. Extreme cases of abuse may see that individual awarded with more of the estate but this is not generally how property division is awarded. This may differ from state to state.
Child custody and visitation is an entirely different matter. Even if the abusive parent did not directly abuse the children, they are still considered to have been abusive. Several studies have found that children that grow up in abusive households, even when not abused, suffer a range of emotional, developmental, behavioral, and educational problems. Some may learn the patterns they see unfolding before them and either end up abused or abusive in their adult lives.
The abusive parent will likely not be given visitation or custodial rights over the children. If any are given, it will only be a supervised visit with someone close at hand to monitor their behavior.
Steps can be taken to protect oneself from an abusive spouse regardless of the type of abuse. Seeking a Temporary Restraining Order against the person begins to establish a history of actions that may come into consideration later. Should the individual violate the restraining order, then 911 can be called and that individual will be held under charges of Contempt of Court….