I Am Divorcing My Spouse Due to a History of Domestic Violence, How Can I Keep My Child Safe?

Whether you are a husband or wife of someone with an anger problem, you may have endured many years of violence and abuse, whether that be physically, mentally, and/or financially. Perhaps you had children with this person and after a long time of enduring their wrath, you finally decide to file for divorce and seek sole custody, with the help of a domestic violence lawyer, so your children can be safe from further harm. 

More than three million children have to see incidents of domestic violence each year in the United States. The fact is, domestic violence and abuse has become a leading epidemic in American life and family units. Abuse within a marriage can be a catalyst for why the victim spouse chose to file for divorce.

But, the fight doesn’t stop there, as the next concern will be how the victim parent can keep their children safe. The answer here is pursuing sole custody of the children during the divorce process, emphasizing the need for limited-to-no visitation or only supervised visitation being awarded to the abusive parent. 

Building a Strong Case Against Your Spouse

When filing a petition to your county clerk for a divorce from your spouse, you may be able to claim domestic violence as a reason for your request. Your attorney can tell you how to seek a restraining order against your spouse as well, to prevent them from trying to harm you out of spite for filing for divorce. In preparation of your child custody hearing, your attorney can walk you through how the court will proceed.

Your attorney can also review your claims and evidence of domestic violence in order to have a strong case against your spouse in the courtroom. The judge is more likely to lean the child custody verdict in your favor if you can provide the following proof:

  • Past incidents of domestic violence in which you called police and an arrest or report was performed
  • Pictures or video of the abusive spouse being harmful towards you and/or your children, whether that be physically or mentally
  • Hand-written notes, text messages, voicemails, or emails of your spouse being threatening towards you
  • A list describing the domestic violence incidents occurred and their severity, as the court may use this information as an indication of future behavior

Outcomes of the Divorce, Child Custody, and Visitation 

While your divorce process is moving forward, you will receive a notice for a date and time in which you and your spouse will have to appear in court to dispute custody. Based on your claims and evidence provided, the court may choose to revoke the abusive parent’s rights for visitation (temporarily or long-term), order that visitation is only permitted when supervised, require the parent to take anger management classes or enroll in another rehabilitation program, issue a restraining order, and/or necessitate that the abusive parent participates in counseling for domestic violence.