No two divorces are exactly alike. It isn’t possible to predict with perfect accuracy how your divorce will turn out. There are many factors that need to be weighed. Your goals and the goals of your spouse are likely to shape the final divorce order, as well. As with anything else, issues of family violence can have varying degrees of impact on the proceedings.
Grounds for Divorce
Texas doesn’t require a finding of fault or “grounds” for a divorce. You can seek a fault-based divorce, but it isn’t necessary to do so. Domestic violence isn’t one of the listed options for a fault-based divorce, but when violence is a factor, you can choose “cruelty” as the grounds for divorce.
Few aspects of a divorce are more likely to be impacted by domestic violence than child custody. Texas courts take family violence seriously. If the judge determines there has been a history or pattern of abuse, either from spouse to spouse or parent to child, custody will be impacted. In these cases, parents who have been found to be abusive won’t be named joint managing conservators.
The courts assume that parents can’t share custody when one is under threat or fear of violence. In addition, a parent with a history of violence against a child will not have sole possession of that child if the abuse happened in the prior two-year period.
In some cases, a parent with a history of violence may be able to secure supervised visitation rights if the parent meets certain criteria.
Division of Marital Assets
In most cases, Texas law requires the marital property to be divided equally. Family violence can sometimes lead to an unequal division of assets. The courts are primarily interested in the well-being of the children and the safety of the abused spouse when making this decision. If an unequal split can further the interests of safety, the court will likely give the benefit of the doubt to the abused spouse.
Shortened Waiting Period
Texas law generally requires a waiting period of at least 60 days from filing a divorce petition to the court granting the divorce. This is generally not a hardship for most people, as the typical divorce takes quite a bit longer than that to complete. Family violence provides the only exception to the 60-day waiting period.
The normal waiting period can be waived if the respondent has been convicted or received deferred adjudication for a family violence crime. It can also be waived if the person filing for divorce has an active protective order or a magistrate’s order for emergency protection based on family violence.
Call Schneider Law Firm in Fort Worth for Immediate Assistance
Family violence can greatly complicate a divorce or custody proceeding. If you’re dealing with issues of family violence or accusations of family violence in a divorce or custody matter, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. Call our attorneys at 817-755-1852 or contact us online today to schedule a consultation.