Divorce isn’t fun or easy, and domestic violence disputes or charges can aggravate an already tense situation with additional stress & anxiety, legal ramifications, financial woes, and mental strain for yourself and your children. So why not let legal experts step in to help you mitigate the damage? Liberty Law Center will give you some legal tips on what it’s like navigating divorce alongside domestic violence issues.
How to Navigate Domestic Violence & Divorce
In Colorado, the law recognizes that domestic violence is negative for both children and spouses, and the law will do everything it can to protect people involved in a domestic violence situation. Domestic violence can be a number of behaviors that are not just physical abuse—including verbal abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, and psychological abuse—and this becomes incredibly complex during a divorce.
In any Colorado divorce, an automatic temporary injunction is put into place to keep both parties from “disturbing the peace of the other party,” which means that spouses are not allowed to divide marital property, move children, or act without the court’s wishes. However, this temporary injunction is sometimes not enough to keep an abuser in line. If you are afraid about your spouse’s behavior, you may want to apply for a domestic violence protection order.In Colorado, these protective orders will legally limit contact between you and your abuser, and it prevents them from harassing, assaulting, or stalking you.
If you are facing a domestic violence protection order and a divorce, you can potentially face the same consequences of criminal domestic violence charges, including the inability to own or possess firearms. It will also complicate the divorce proceedings, and make it more difficult to communicate and ensure your access to your children.
Child Custody and Domestic Violence
In Colorado, children have the right to live in a home that is free of abuse, neglect, and violence. All custody cases in a divorce will take domestic violence seriously, and any threat to a child is always taken into consideration when determining the rights of the parents. This is called the “Best interests of the child” legal standard.
The court will use a variety of factors when deciding child custody. Domestic violence is one factor among many, and doesn’t guarantee the court will always rule against the abuser. Even if you or your child has been abused, the abuser can still be granted parenting time and parenting responsibilities in Colorado; it all depends on what is seen as in the best interest for the child.
In general, it is believed that children should have time with both parents no matter what. The court will often order the exchange of children to be in a public place or at a police station to protect the abused spouse, and visitations with children can be resticted to supervised periods with either agreed upon third parties or through court advocacy groups like CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children.
The best thing to do is get a lawyer who can help you walk through these complex divorce and custody issues when it comes to domestic violence. Call Liberty Law Center today!