Domestic Violence and Divorce FAQ

How Does Domestic Violence Impact Divorce in New York?

Some states have different rules for divorces based on fault and divorces not based on fault, also known as a no-fault divorce. A fault divorce is one that is caused by one of the spouses. Reasons for a fault divorce include adultery, abuse, and abandonment. A no-fault divorce is one in which neither spouse caused the separation. Typically, it is stated that the parties had “irreconcilable differences” or the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” No-fault divorces are the norm while at-fault divorces are rarely used today.

In the states that recognize a difference between a fault and a no-fault divorce, a fault-based divorce typically has no mandatory period of time that must pass before the divorce may be granted. In a no-fault divorce, the parties may be forced to wait an extended period of time before divorcing. 

If there is domestic violence occurring in a family, having to wait a certain period of time can be dangerous. A domestic violence lawyer in New York can advise you on the best steps to take. In some cases, if you are the victim of the violence, you can seek a order of protection. The at-fault spouse will likely be barred from returning to the marital home, and that may give you some breathing room to prepare for the divorce. 

How Does Domestic Violence Impact Property and Debt Distribution in New York?

There are two standards courts use in dividing property and debt in a divorce, and the one they use depends on the jurisdiction. In an equitable division state, the court will attempt to divide the property and debt in a way that is fair to both parties. In a community property state, the court acts on the presumption that all marital property should be split evenly between the parties. 

No matter which standard is used, domestic violence may have an impact on the distribution. Courts will consider how the abuse may have caused the abused spouse to not be able to work or other ways in which the abuse affected the ability of each party to contribute to the marriage.

How Does Domestic Violence Impact Alimony in New York?

Alimony, known as Spousal Support, is not designed to be a punishment. However, when the abused spouse is able to show that the abuse impacted their financial ability to be self-supporting due to the domestic violence, the court may award them alimony. 

Spousal Support is awarded only when the spouse has a reasonable need for it. That reasonable need may have arisen because of the domestic violence, i.e., the supported/abused spouse was unable to work or secure financial independence due to or in part due to the violence.

How Does Domestic Violence Impact Child Custody in New York?

A history of domestic violence may lead a court to feel that the abusive party is not a safe person to have custody of the children, or may feel that visitation must be supervised. The court will always consider the evidence and decide what is in the best interest of the child in that situation. 

On the other hand, if one spouse lies about domestic violence and it's proven in court, the judge will look unfavorably on that spouse. The result could be a custody order that favors the other spouse. Thus, it is important not to accuse unless there is real abuse or threat of abuse.

Contact a Divorce Lawyer in New York Today

Divorce is hard enough without the added layer of domestic violence. But if there is abuse in the family, the courts need to know. There are ways to get help and protection. Our divorce lawyer in New York is here to make sure your divorce goes as smoothly as possible. Contact us at 518-427-7000 or fill out our online form to schedule a Consultation today.