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How could domestic violence impact your New Jersey divorce?

There are many reasons that people leave a marriage. Many times, issues like infidelity or growing apart over the years are the root cause. However, domestic abuse remains a common reason for people to end their marriages. Domestic violence knows no economic status, age, race, religion or sexual orientation. People from all kinds of backgrounds can find themselves the victims of abuse and mistreatment by intimate partners.

If you are in the planning stages of escaping a marriage marred by domestic violence, it's normal to worry about divorce. This is particularly true when there are minor children involved. You may worry about your abuser attempting to gain sole custody as a means of punishing you. Concerns about what will happen to the children during and after the divorce could keep you from filing. Informing yourself about how New Jersey handles domestic abuse in a divorce can help you plan your way forward.

Documented domestic violence can impact child custody

There are many urban legends about what the courts consider in a divorce. For example, it is rare for adultery to impact the outcome of a divorce. Domestic violence and abuse, however, are serious considerations for any court handling a divorce and related custody proceedings. In order for the courts to consider the implications of domestic violence allegations, you generally need some evidence or documentation of the abuse.

Police reports about incidents and medical documentation regarding injuries are often the best evidence to support claims of domestic abuse. Testimony from neighbors, older children and witnesses can also help you establish proof of domestic violence claims. Cellphone images or videos, messages or communication including threats from the abuser, and similar digital evidence can also help.

The state may issue a restraining order

If you find yourself worrying about the potential for your spouse to become violent when you initiate divorce proceedings, you may want to consider obtaining a temporary restraining order. These legal documents can help protect you. If your spouse violates the terms of the order by stalking, harassing or otherwise frightening you, that can help establish a pattern of behavior for future legal efforts.

A restraining order for domestic violence usually includes a temporary custody order placing the children in the care of the non-abusive parent. You will then need to develop a case for the permanent custody order during your divorce. While the courts typically want to support strong bonds with both parents by awarding equal parenting time, they may stray from that standard in cases of abuse. If your children were victims of violence by your spouse or witnessed domestic abuse, that may be reason for the courts to award you sole custody and limit or monitor any visitation rights for your spouse.

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  • IACP | International Academy of Collaborative Professionals NAFLA | Top Ten Rating | 2014
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Melissa Cipriano: Honored as a "Best of New Jersey Among our Most Distinguished Americans of Italian Descent" and conferred the "Stivale D'Italia Award of Excellence" by the Italian Tribune for her "honesty, integrity and dedication to fair and ethical business practices" and her "outstanding reputation as a Woman Whose Word is Her Bond".

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