Virginia Divorce Law Lawyers
Divorce is an incredibly painful process, the life you once knew will be completely changed. In cases where domestic violence was present during the marriage, the process can be even more terrible. There is an element of risk associated with ending an abusive relationship. However, by accessing the correct support networks, steps can be taken to help build a safety plan that mitigates some of the risk. In the event the two of you have children, you will certainly want to protect them for your abusive spouse. Using the services of a family law attorney early on in the process may be helpful when it comes to ensuring that your children are protected.
The Risk of Ending a Relationship
Domestic violence is often shrouded in secrecy. Many victims fear recourse if they speak up or stand up against their abuser. Ending a relationship where domestic violence is present can be a terrifying time. In fact, survivors of domestic violence have a far higher likelihood of obtaining more significant injuries or even death when they make efforts to leave. Putting together a clear safety plan with a DV specialist may be a way of building safety for you and your children.
Services that Support
An attorney may be able to help in a number of ways. Not only can they help to identify services that may be supportive to your specific needs, they can also strategize and build evidence that support your case. While your attorney can help you manage the details to your divorce, you are likely to also need help from therapeutic professionals and domestic violence support systems as you enter into the legal process and beyond. Services that are important for victims of domestic violence to access may include:
- Services offered through a local Domestic Violence Center
- Domestic Violence Support Groups
- Help with housing
By building a network of supports, you can begin to heal from the damage your abuser forced you to endure. Not only can a positive support network build safety for you and your children, it may also help you identify signs of unsafe partners to prevent future abuse.
Protecting Your Children
In cases where abuse is present, if you and your attorney are able to present a strong case, it could have an impact on child custody. Depending on the specifics, an attorney may be able to help you gather evidence to prove the presence of domestic violence. Ultimately a judge will review the evidence that has been presented and make a determination of what parent-child contact should look like. In more extreme cases, the batterer may not be able to have any type of contact with the child. Common recommendations judges may make include:
- Only allowing access to the child through supervised visitation. They may even require that this occur through a supervised visiting program rather than with a friend or relative.
- Put specific expectations in place surrounding exchanges of the child.
It’s important to make any concerns you have known with the courts so that they are able to make the most informed decision.
Leaving an abusive partner can take time. When a batterer exerts their control over their spouse, being able to leave can feel impossible. The process can be exhausting during a time that is full of so many uncertainties.