If a person is found to a be a perpetrator of domestic violence the victim may receive several advantages in a divorce case. The victim may have a much easier time gaining custody of the children, they may obtain exclusive use of the family home or some other community property, or if they are the higher earner and legally required to pay spousal support, being a victim of domestic violence will trump their obligation and they may not have to pay.
The above advantages have caused a disturbing new trend that I am seeing more and more. Parties are aware of the advantages inherent in being a domestic violence victim and are therefore alleging domestic violence even when it does not truly exist. The problems with this strategy are many; Domestic violence proceedings are very costly as they always require a trial, even more so 9 times out of 10 if the domestic violence proceeding is defended properly and vigorously, the court will see through the strategyand the alleged victim will lose credibility in the courts’ eyes, lastly the fact that a person chose the above strategy and lost, may be used against you throughout the course of the dissolution and may negatively affect the outcome.
Some common telltale signs that the domestic violence allegation is a false one are: the alleged victim takes normal marital discord and grossly exaggerates it, even falsely adding in some physicality (pushing, showing, spittingin the face etc), the police have never been called, there are no witnesses, there are no injuries or pictures of injuries, no property damage and the alleged victim does not act in a way that they are afraid, for example, still contacts the alleged abuser, sleeps in the same bed, provokes him or her in some way, and the victim is asking for something in addition to a restraining order, such as exclusive custody of the children, exclusive use of the family home.
Unfortunately not all domestic violence allegations are false, if you are the victim of domestic violence call the police, take pictures of any injuries you may have sustained, ask your friends and family to help remove you from the situation and seek a lawyers advice and counsel for a restraining order.
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