Divorce is a challenging process even when both spouses are cooperative. When spousal abuse is part of the relationship, it brings a different intensity to the proceedings. In New Hampshire, a history of abuse may be grounds for a fault-based divorce.
Fault or no-fault
Most divorces are of the no-fault variety. The spouses might cite irreconcilable differences without either side assigning blame. This is typically what happens when couples realize that they can no longer be happy with one another, but there isn’t anything specific that happened to make them want to split. Other reasons that couples cite for divorce include irreversible breakdown, separation and incompatibility.
Under certain circumstances, New Hampshire provides the option of fault-based divorce. If only one spouse wants to exit the marriage, adequate proof of fault may persuade the court to grant the separation. One of the acceptable circumstances for a fault-based divorce is cruelty by the offending spouse.
Spousal abuse can take several forms. While physical abuse is often the clearest sign of cruelty, other scenarios include:
• Verbal abuse
• Emotional abuse
• Financial abuse
• Digital abuse
• Sexual abuse
Preparing for a divorce from an abusive spouse
Demonstrating domestic abuse in divorce proceedings does not guarantee that you will receive a different outcome than in a no-fault divorce. The court will still want to provide an equitable property division between the two parties. However, documentation of abuse can be a factor in the court’s determination of alimony, child support and child custody.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, the safety of you and your children must be your first priority. Abuse can escalate, so it is critical to find a safe space.