Divorces often cause challenges for all members of the family. But when domestic violence becomes a factor in the divorce process, the risk of legal battles may increase. Alimony, child support and visitation rights may be challenged if domestic violence occurred between the divorcing couple.
Domestic violence in New Hampshire
Each state defines domestic violence differently. New Hampshire broadly defines it as violence that occurs between family or household members, including:
• Former spouses
• Cohabitating adults
• Any adult related by blood or marriage
Revised Statutes Section 173-B:1 identifies the following actions as domestic violence:
• Criminal threats
• Property Destruction
• Restraining a person against their will
• Unauthorized entry
Cause for divorce
While New Jersey remains a no-fault state for divorce, domestic violence continues to be one of the reasons that you can cite when filing for divorce. Citing domestic violence in divorce filings may benefit the petitioner during the divorce trial.
Domestic violence and alimony
In New Jersey, courts try to stick with a mathematical formula to determine the reasonable need of each party in the divorce. However, special circumstances may adjust the amount that a judge allocates. The special circumstances include the behavior of the spouse during marriage. Specifically, abuse that caused the breakdown of the marriage may be cited by the judge as a reason to increase alimony.
Child custody and visitation
The presence of domestic violence may affect both custody arrangements and visitation schedules. The court will examine the history of abuse, its effects on the children, and the likelihood that the children will experience further abuse. Custody and visitation may be limited, completely eliminated, or restricted until the parent completes a counseling program.
Proving domestic violence occurred
While New Jersey courts do take domestic violence into consideration, the alleged violence needs proof. If the case involves children, the proof must also demonstrate that the children were negatively affected by the alleged domestic violence.