If you are planning to divorce an abusive spouse, there are steps you can take to help protect you and your family and ensure that the court takes into consideration the safety of all concerned. You should start to plan long before you actually file. To help ensure you are doing everything you can to get a fair outcome to your divorce, here are some tips to follow.
Get a Child Custody Evaluation
Even if your children have never been direct victims of your spouse's abusive behavior, they can still be indirect victims. Unfortunately, the effects of watching you endure violence at the hands of your spouse can have a mental and emotional impact on your children.
If you are concerned with the interactions your spouse will have with the children in the future, it is important that you ask the court for child custody evaluations. Ask the judge to appoint someone who is experienced in dealing with domestic violence cases.
The evaluator will know the signs of an abusive relationship and can help determine whether or not interactions between your spouse and the children should be limited in the future. Based on the evaluator's recommendations, your children could be protected by having only supervised visits with your spouse.
The evaluations can also be useful if you are seeking a restraining order to protect your children. An unbiased evaluation of your spouse and his or her interactions with the children can be the evidence you need to get the order.
Opt Out of Mediation
Some courts are requiring divorcing spouses to attend mediation to create parenting agreements and settle other child custody-related issues. If there is an imbalance of power in your relationship with your spouse due to the abuse, mediation can quickly become a tool he or she can use to bully you.
If you believe that mediation would result in bullying from your spouse, opt out. Depending on the court, you might have to provide a written statement declaring why you are choosing to opt out. The judge might require you to undergo a screening to determine the extent of the domestic violence you suffered and use it to decide if mediation is not possible.
If you want to attempt mediation with your spouse, it is important to know that if you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement, the court will intervene. This means that you are under no obligation to give into your spouse's demands if you believe he or she is bullying you.
To further understand your options when divorcing an abusive spouse, consult with a family attorney who has experience working with domestic violence victims.
For a family divorce lawyer in your area, contact a lawyer such as Arthur David Malkin Attorney At Law.
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