If you’re the victim of domestic violence, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, domestic violence is a prevalent issue that many individuals face in today’s society. As such, understanding the effect domestic violence will have on your divorce in New York is crucial. Please continue reading and contact a compassionate Suffolk County Domestic Violence Attorney to learn how we can fight to protect your rights.
How Does Domestic Violence Impact Divorce Proceedings in New York?
In New York, couples seeking to dissolve their marriage have two options. They can either file for a fault or no fault-based divorce. In a fault divorce, the petitioner holds the other spouse responsible for running the marriage, while in a no-fault divorce, no blame is placed on either party.
In cases of domestic violence in the state of New York, you may be able to cite “extreme cruelty” as the grounds for a fault divorce. If there is evidence of abuse in a marriage, it can have a significant impact on the court’s decisions on the terms that will apply to the termination of your marriage, including property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. The court possesses broad discretion when evaluating each factor in a specific case.
Domestic violence will influence the court’s decisions regarding equitable distribution, with judges considering any financial hardship that the victim may have suffered. Additionally, the court examines whether a victim was coerced into remaining in the marriage. When a spouse has suffered abuse, family courts can behave similarly to civil courts. This means that if they deem it appropriate, they can grant a victim a larger share of the couple’s marital assets as a form of financial compensation.
Domestic violence will also impact the court’s decisions about spousal support. While the court will not order an abusive spouse to pay alimony as punishment for bad behavior during the marriage, the court is more likely to grant it if a victim can demonstrate that the abuse they suffered has prevented them from being self-supporting.
Will it affect child custody decisions?
Furthermore, when a divorce court finds a spouse guilty of domestic violence, it can impact child custody decisions. The court’s primary concern is safeguarding a child’s best interests. Essentially, they want to ensure the children grow up in the best environment possible. As such, judges are more likely to award sole custody to the victimized parent in instances of domestic violence to protect the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of a child. The court wants to ensure that the children are safe from potential harm. Therefore, they may strip all custody and visitation rights from an abusive spouse or require supervised visitations. In extreme cases, the court can even terminate an abusive spouse’s parental rights.
If you’re the victim of domestic violence, please don’t hesitate to contact a trusted attorney from The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C., who can help guide you towards a brighter future.