Some people choose to leave a marriage not due to infidelity or growing apart over the years but because of physical violence. Domestic violence may harm one individual or may affect every family member.
An individual who is seeking to leave a violent and volatile marriage can anticipate a different divorce process than most people experience. They will need to address certain matters early in the process for their protection and the safety of any children in the family. What are some of the biggest differences?
The importance of advance planning and documentation
If someone simply wants to make a quick exit from a marriage with no minor children, they may not wait in a volatile situation. Unfortunately, the presence of children in the family will make someone’s exit a bit more complicated. The risk is that any abrupt moves without evidence to support someone’s claims could leave them fully sharing custody with their unstable spouse or possibly fighting an uphill battle for custody because their spouse claims they unfairly interfered in their relationship with the children.
Creating records of the abuse experienced, including written journals, photographs of injuries and damaged property and any other evidence an individual can accumulate from violent incidents the need together evidence can delay a divorce filing that someone would likely prefer to move around long as quickly as possible.
The extra step of securing a protection order
The Washington courts can grant a protection order to help protect someone from intimidating communications, stalking and interpersonal violence. While a court order won’t prevent someone from being violent, will create specific consequences for their misconduct. The process of going to court to secure a protective order will add a bit of complexity to the divorce process, but it can be an important step for those who care for their safety.
Requesting the protection of certain details
The family courts see enough divorces and custody cases involving domestic violence to have a few systems in place for the protection of those involved. For example, it is possible for people to request an anonymous alternative address when communicating with their spouse in a divorce related to domestic violence. In scenarios involving minor children, it is sometimes possible to request supervised visitation or custody exchanges.
Although it can be particularly challenging to safely extricate oneself from a marriage impacted by domestic violence, thoughtful preparation and legal guidance can help someone change their life and leave an unsafe situation behind.