When domestic violence accusations enter a divorce, it’s awful for everyone involved. Those who have been victimized deserve compensation for their woes. Those who have been falsely accused need help protecting their assets and reputations.
In this article, we will explore the ways domestic violence allegations can change the outcome of a divorce.
Effects on Property Distribution
Most states, including Maryland, divide property using an “equitable” system. Essentially, spouses present arguments who why an asset should go to them. From there, the court determines what is fairest, and it gives property to the most deserving spouse.
The “equal” distribution system, used by far fewer states, still operates much the same way. Spouses argue for entitlement to property. The difference is that whatever property someone keeps, they will owe their spouse half the value of that property.
Looking at the above systems, you may have already deduced the potential outcome of a domestic violence accusation. Someone who has suffered abuse and proves that abuse in court may be able to receive more property than they would otherwise. Conversely, someone who has been wrongfully accused may lose more of their property than they should.
Effects on Spousal Support
Generally, spousal support is based on dry, pragmatic facts. The court considers the length of the marriage, each partner’s current financial situation, the potential future earnings of each partner, and so on.
When a family court believes that there has been abuse in a relationship, it can act more like a civil court. It may give the abused spouse more than it normally would, compensating them for their troubles. This is a well-deserved form of helping those who deserve it, but it is also a burden on those who did nothing wrong.
Effects on Child Custody
Courts always operate in the best interests of children. If children have suffered abuse or even witnessed it in the home, this can have a huge impact on child custody rulings. The abuser could lose custody altogether, and they may not even be awarded visitation rights.
A family court also considers the character of a parent when making custody decisions. Even when the children have not directly experienced abuse, the court can make heavy rulings against an alleged abuser. It may assume that being around this parent is simply unhealthy for the children.
Proving or Disproving Domestic Abuse in a Divorce
Proving domestic abuse is like any other claim you would bring up in court. It requires evidence. Such evidence could come in the form of recorded conversations, eyewitness testimony, medical records, and so on.
Whether you have experienced abuse or been falsely accused, you need a deft attorney to help you build your case. Their job is to argue your claims, for or against. A good lawyer can investigate the situation, pulling the evidence necessary to convince the court of the truth.
Whether you need help proving that you experienced violence in your marriage or your need to disprove this claim, our firm is here for you. You can use our online contact form to schedule time with us, or you can call us now at (410) 593-0040.