How Domestic Violence Affects Divorce Cases—Custody, Assets, and Alimony
Domestic violence can lead to criminal charges, but did you know that the actions of violent spouses can also affect divorce determinations? When it comes to divorce, a history of domestic violence can play a significant role in the outcome, even if the violence was not recent.
The family courts of Colorado recognize “no-fault” divorces, which means you are not required to cite or prove domestic violence to obtain a divorce. Simply stating that there are “irreconcilable differences” and that the marriage cannot be saved is enough to file for a divorce. Nevertheless, allegations of “domestic violence” can affect the rights of the parties in divorce proceedings.
How Can Domestic Violence Affect Divorce Proceedings?
Domestic violence can play a role in the following divorce determinations:
- Child Custody and Domestic Violence
Child custody is most significantly impacted by domestic violence in a divorce proceeding. Spouses are less likely to get custody of their children if they have demonstrated a pattern of violent behavior. Depending on the court, parents may be ordered to have supervised visits or to visit only in public places. They may be prohibited from spending the night with their children and some judges may even prohibit visitation altogether if extreme allegations of domestic violence are proven. The decision is made based on the child’s best interests and safety.
- Domestic Violence and Division of Marital Assets
When dividing marital assets, the court usually considers a spouse’s behavior during the marriage. In some cases, the victim of domestic violence may receive a larger share of the marital assets. This can also apply when the nature of the domestic violence involved economic or financial abuse. For instance, if a victim’s abuse affected their ability to earn money, or if a victim lost their job due to domestic violence, the court will usually award the victim a greater share.
- Impact of Domestic Violence on Spousal Support (Maintenance)
Divorce proceedings often favor the victims of domestic violence. This holds true when determining maintenance (the financial support that a person must give to their spouse following divorce). The court may grant higher alimony if the domestic violence involves economic or financial abuse, such as preventing the victim from working so that they become financially dependent on the abuser.
Contact Our Legal Team for Help with Domestic Violence and Divorce Questions
Depending on the circumstances, the perpetrator of domestic violence could be charged with civil or criminal offenses, including assault and battery. This can negatively affect the rights to child custody, fair distribution of marital assets, and maintenance during a divorce.
At Kanthaka Group, our firm is committed to helping Colorado residents with a wide range of family law matters including domestic violence, divorce, child custody, adoption, and more. Please do not hesitate to contact our team and schedule a free consultation.