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September 18, 2019

How Domestic Violence Can Affect Your Divorce

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Posted by: GDS Law Group, LLP

Domestic violence is considered a serious matter by Indiana courts. Domestic violence not only affects personal safety, but also has a significant impact on the outcome of your divorce whether you are the victim or the person being accused.

Your divorce impacts your entire life, including custody of your child, where you live, and how much money you will have moving forward. A divorce that involves domestic violence requires a skilled divorce lawyer who can guide your case to the best possible conclusion while representing all of your concerns and protecting your rights. GDS Law Group provides comprehensive divorce representation. Call our office today for your appointment at 765-313-7092 or use our online contact form.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Indiana Code Section 34-26 Chapter 5 defines domestic violence as an act against a spouse or person the accused lives with (including a co-parent or child). Domestic violence can include any of these criminal acts:

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Kidnapping or illegal confinement
  • Sexual assault/battery
  • A threat to due any of the above

Protective Orders

If there are accusations of domestic violence in your divorce, the court can issue a protective order that does some or all of the following:

  • Orders the abuser not to commit acts of violence, stalking, or sexual offenses against the accuser or their family members or anyone living in their home. Threats about these acts are also prohibited.
  • Prohibits the abuser from communicating with the accuser in person or by phone, and from harassing or bothering them
  • Requires the abused to keep away from the accuser’s home, workplace, school, or places they frequent, as well as places their family and household members often go.

A permanent protective order that lasts for two years can be issued by the court if the accused remains in danger. In addition to the above provisions, it can include the following:

  • Remove the abuser from the home, giving the accuser exclusive residence;
  • Give the accuser possession of personal items and a car;
  • Custody of the children with specifications about visitation;
  • A requirement that the abuser pay the accuser’s rent, expenses, attorney’s fees, as well as child support; and
  • An order that the abuser turn over any guns to law enforcement and a prohibition on owning any during the term of the order

Child Custody and Domestic Violence

It is well established that domestic violence has a negative, long-term impact on children. Because of this, Indiana requires that courts consider a domestic violence charge or accusation when determining child custody and visitation.

Child custody is determined based on what is in the best interests of the child. This best interests analysis includes a wide range of factors, including the physical and mental health of the parents and child, the age and sex of the child, the wishes of both parents and the child as well as anything else that affects the child. Included in the factors is an explicit requirement that the court consider evidence of a pattern of domestic violence by either parent. Evidence of domestic violence in a divorce is taken seriously by the court and can greatly impact the custody order.

Visitation and Domestic Violence

In addition to influencing the determination of custody, domestic violence also impacts visitation. Indiana law states that if the non-custodial parent is convicted of domestic violence and the child saw or heard the incident, visitation with the child must automatically be supervised for a minimum of one to two years or until the child turns age 18 or becomes emancipated.

Anyone who has experienced domestic violence or has been accused of it deserves qualified, attentive legal representation in their divorce. When you need a divorce lawyer, call the GDS Law Group at 765-313-7092.

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