What to do when domestic violence is leading to divorce

All divorce cases are different, and those involving domestic violence can be quite complex. However, there are a few things you may want to keep in mind if you're splitting up due to violence in your relationship.

-- Ask your attorney to request protective orders. You're asking for a divorce because you want to keep yourself safe, but the mere proposal can often set an abuser off. You may be able to use a protective order to keep your spouse from coming near you or contacting you, providing you with legal protection until the lengthy divorce process is over.

-- Forego mediation. For couples who are on good terms, mediation can be quite a useful way to come to agreements without the judge making a ruling. However, experts warn against using this in domestic violence cases, as it forces you to be with your alleged attacker — which could violate a protective order — and because that person could attempt to manipulate you.

-- Remember to gather evidence, especially when children are involved. If you can prove that domestic violence took place, you have a very good chance of getting custody of your kids. However, your spouse may simply deny it, and then it becomes a he-said, she-said situation. If you have evidence to back up your claims, it can absolutely help you get custody of the kids, potentially protecting them. You can get a divorce either way, but the custody ruling is where you need to focus.

Before you even file for divorce in California, make sure you look into your legal rights and all of the options that are open to you.

Source: Love to Know, "Victim's Rights in a Divorce with Domestic Violence," Marcelina Hardy, accessed June 30, 2016

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