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How Does Domestic Violence Affect a Divorce?

Divorce can always be a complex process, but the situation can become significantly more difficult if there are allegations of domestic violence. Domestic violence can play a major role in a divorce case in different ways, and the following are only some ways such violence can affect your divorce.

Protective Orders

If you were the victim of domestic violence, the first priority is to ensure the safety of you and your children. In many situations, this involves seeking a protective order from the court. A protective order can prevent your spouse from coming near you or your children and might give you sole occupancy of the family home. These orders can stay in effect until your divorce is finalized, or longer if granted by the court. However, if you have a protective order, it can make it more complicated to negotiate and agree on the terms of your divorce, and the chance of a trial might increase.

Child Custody after Domestic Violence

Tennessee law requires child custody to be determined based on what the court finds to be in the best interests of the child. One factor the court must consider is whether the child was the victim of domestic violence or a parent might endanger the child or affect their well-being.

Domestic violence will not automatically cause a parent to lose custody rights. For example, if the violence was an isolated incident and was not directed toward or witnessed by the child, it might have less of an effect on the custody determination. On the other hand, if the domestic violence was recent or frequent, it will likely impact the court’s decision.

In many cases, the court might award custody to the non-violent parent, while the parent who engaged in domestic violence might get rights to supervised visitation. This means the parent can spend time with their child, but only in the presence of a designated adult. Visits might need to be supervised until the parent completes counseling, anger management, or other conditions of the custody order.

In cases of severe domestic violence against the child, the court can terminate parental rights completely. This might happen in cases involving the following:

  • Sexual abuse or rape of the child
  • Injury to the child, a sibling, or half-sibling
  • Child neglect or abuse that results in a two-year prison sentence or longer
  • Killing the child’s other parent

If You are Accused of Domestic Violence

Some domestic violence allegations are false, and some are intended to gain advantages in child custody and divorce cases. If your spouse falsely accused you of domestic violence, you need the right lawyer who will protect your custody rights.

Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Attorney About Your Situation Today

At Dotson & Taylor, we represent clients in many different situations throughout their divorces, including cases involving domestic violence. We know how to handle complex custody matters and requests for protective orders. Call 615-890-1982 or contact us online to learn how a divorce lawyer in Murfreesboro can help in your specific case.