Domestic Violence & Divorce
Austin Family Lawyer
Domestic violence charges are a prevalent issue in society today. In a heated moment it is common for tempers to flare and for things to become out of control. It is not a random occurrence but is amongst those in a close relationship, such as a married couple, dating couple, relatives and others. It can often be more than just one event, but rather a pattern of behavior that continues for varying periods of time. There is protection for the victims of abuse and getting to safety should be the main concern. Many times domestic violence is involved in a divorce case and can even be the main reason for the divorce occurring in the first place. These issues are taken serious by the court and can have a substantial impact including when children are involved. Abuse can be physical harm, as well as threats or emotional abuse.
What is domestic abuse?
You might think that domestic violence starts with physical violence. In reality, domestic abuse is much more that violence. Yes, abuse can involve hitting, slapping, punching, and other attacks. However, threats of violence, harsh language and other non-physical incidents are abuse, too. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, domestic abuse occurs when one partner of a relationship trikes to excursive excessive control, embarrass his/her partner with putdowns, take money, or intimidate his/her partner.
There are three types of domestic abuse: emotional, physical and sexual. Emotional abusers call names, continually criticize and act jealously. They may also monitor their victims' activities and try to isolate their victims from friends and family. Physical abuse is the most recognized form or domestic violence and occurs when the abuse acts on his/her threats to physically harm the victim. Sexual abuse occurs when the abuser tries to enforce rigid gender roles, insults his/her partner with sexual name calling or demand sex.
Statistics on Abuse
Domestic violence statistics truly are disturbing:
- Approximately 1.5 million women are raped or physically assaulted by a partner each year
- Violence by a partner accounts for 22% of violent crime against women
- Domestic violence is the cause of more visits to the emergency room by women than any other cause of injury
- One out of four American women becomes victim of domestic violence during her lifetime
- Most domestic violence incidents are not reported to the police
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, it is common to operate off of fear. You may worry that further harm will come if you attempt to take action. You should not let fear of retaliation prevent you from taking measures to improve your situation. If the situation is extreme, you should immediately call the police, who can intervene and possibly issue a temporary protective order. It can be hard to think rationally in these cases but staying in the situation will likely only lead to more harm.
An attorney from our firm will meet with you for a confidential consultation to discuss your concerns regarding divorce. Many people in your situation feel trapped in the marriage because they worry that leaving will expose them to economic hardship. Under state law, cruelty is grounds for divorce. We can use the fact that you have suffered spousal abuse as leverage to help you increase the amount of alimony or spousal maintenance you may receive.
A restraining order can protect you in a number of ways, as it can: direct an attacker to leave a household, direct parties to participate in counseling, direct the attacker to pay support of minor children, restrain an attacker from interfering with minor children in the custody of the victim, award the victim custody of the children, prevent an attacker from entering a residence, school, business or place frequented by the victim. If the court believes there is valid reason to do so, they can place an array of limitations on the perpetrator. If they fail to adhere to these guidelines they can deal with further legal repercussions, and the issue is also likely to be brought up in the divorce.
Protecting Your Children
Domestic violence can affect children as well. It may be committed against them or even if they see it occur to someone else, it can cause significant damage that may show itself in a number of ways. If your children have told you that they have been physically or sexually abused by your ex-partner, do not assume that this is false. Have medical examinations conducted on your children looking for symptoms like these:
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Regular nightmares
- Bed wetting
- Low self-esteem
- Sexual advances
- Avoidance of your ex-partner
- Inappropriate touch
- Drop of grades
Half of sexual assaults take place within a child's home, so it is important to keep this in mind. Never result to falsely accusing your ex-partner of domestic violence, however, just to obtain custody of your children. There are better ways to secure the custody of your children that our firm can assist you with. Call our office today to see what a hard-hitting Austin family law attorney can do for your case.
Domestic Abuse and Child Custody
Allegations of domestic violence can have a major impact on the court's decision regarding child custody. If your former spouse has a history of violence, you can request to have the court award you primary custody and to order that visitation be limited and supervised. Your lawyer will help you prepare your request, including any necessary evidence or testimony to support your position. It is also possible to petition for a protective order, to keep your ex-spouse from abusing and threatening you. Were you falsely accused of domestic violence? Click here to learn more information that pertains to you.