If you are in an abusive relationship and need a divorce, you should find a domestic violence attorney to help you. Divorce lawyers who have experience with domestic violence matters, like our firm, can take the necessary steps to protect you during the separation and divorce process.
Your Lawyer Can Seek a Protective Order for You
Unfortunately, some married couples deal with violence in their relationships. Domestic violence is a “pattern of abusive behavior within an intimate relationship intended to gain power and control over the victim.” Both men and women can perpetrate or be the victim of domestic abuse, and both spouses in a marriage could perpetrate the abuse. Abusive behavior in a domestic violence situation can include physical violence, threats, sexual violence, criticism, isolating the victim, and more.
A married victim of domestic abuse may want to divorce but be too afraid to ask the perpetrating spouse. Alternatively, some people become domestic violence victims when they announce their intention to get a divorce. In North Carolina, victims of domestic abuse can apply to receive Domestic Violence Protective Orders. A protective order is a court order that requires a domestic violence perpetrator to stay away from his or her victim. If the perpetrator violates the order, he or she can be arrested.
To get a protective order, you must meet several legal requirements in North Carolina. You usually have to go to court and argue before a judge that you are able to satisfy the burden of proof. For this reason, many domestic abuse victims want to have a lawyer; however, the court does not appoint lawyers to assist you in getting a protective order. You need to find an experienced domestic violence attorney to help.
Your Lawyer Can Explain How Domestic Violence Could Affect Your Divorce
Domestic violence can affect your divorce. As you go through the divorce process, your attorney can explain how your situation could influence your legal strategy. For example, your protective order may prevent in-person mediations or negotiations, which are common when spouses are on better terms. You will definitely need your lawyer available to attend any court hearings on your behalf so that you see your spouse as little as possible.
Moreover, the abuse may become a factor in an award of post-separation support or alimony, as well as child custody. Marital misconduct is a factor that the judge will consider when making these decisions. Domestic violence may even affect how your marital assets are divided, such as who keeps the family home. You need to speak to your lawyer about these crucial issues. He or she can provide invaluable advice about the effect of domestic abuse on your divorce proceedings.
Your Lawyer Can Help You Finalize the Divorce
In North Carolina, you must separate from your spouse for a year and a day before you can even file divorce papers. Separation involves living in separate residences and essentially living separate lives. For domestic violence victims, the separation period could be a great relief. You may have a protective order that prevents your spouse from being near you, and you will be able to live in a separate residence. If your spouse does not want to separate, you may qualify for a divorce from bed and board, a court-ordered separation.
However, you may find that your spouse continues to be controlling from afar. When the year ends, you could learn that your spouse has no intention of getting divorced and plans to fight you in court. At this point, you definitely need a domestic violence attorney’s help. A divorce lawyer with experience in domestic violence cases can recommend the best course of action for your situation.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
If you need help divorcing an abusive partner, the team at New Direction Family Law is available today to answer your questions. We are knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate divorce attorneys who can use our decades of combined experience to your advantage. We will help you understand your legal rights and work hard to get you out of a domestic violence situation. We proudly serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.