Divorce is not easy, but living with domestic violence is harder.

Divorce is generally a very upsetting time for all parties involved, but there are a few things that can make it more difficult. The biggest complicating factor is children. Marriages that involve children, whether a product of the marriage or not, are naturally more difficult because the children are caught in the middle and spouses will have to continue to work together to parent the children after they separate. Divorce can be much more difficult and “messy” when domestic violence is the cited cause of the split. Many people assume that the perpetrator of the violence will automatically “lose” everything, however, in Colorado, this is simply not true.

Follow along in today’s post as we review how the presence of domestic violence may influence the outcome of your divorce. But, before we go any further, if you are the victim of domestic violence, your children are the victim of child abuse, or both, please seek safety before proceeding.

Domestic Violence as the Reason for Divorce

If you are the victim of domestic violence and seeking to divorce your abusive partner, there are plenty of resources to help you make the split from your spouse. Colorado law is on your side. When you contact your family lawyer, they can help you get a no-contact order, also known as a protection order or restraining order, and provide legal protection for you.

Here are a few things you should know about how domestic violence may affect your divorce.

  1. You have the right to petition for a protective order.
  2. Domestic violence is not a deciding factor in alimony, child custody, or child support rulings.
  3. Do NOT agree to mediation when domestic violence is involved.
  4. You can sue your spouse or press charges for the abuse.
  5. You are NOT stuck, do not stay in an abusive home.

How Domestic Violence Affects Child Custody

In a Colorado divorce, child custody laws are heavily concerned with the child’s best interest and providing a safe home. Sometimes, the best interest of the child can outweigh the presence of domestic violence perpetrated against the other parent. Here are a few things you should know.

  1. Colorado state law believes that it is in the child’s best interest to have a relationship with both parents, so domestic violence and child abuse may not prevent parenting time with the abusive parent.
  2. If the abusive parent presents a physical or emotional concern to the child’s wellbeing, parenting time may be “supervised visitation.”
  3. Domestic violence, child abuse, and neglect are only a few factors, among many, that are used to determine custody of the child. And, physical custody and decision-making abilities are different. So, even if an abusive parent is denied custody or visitation, they may still be granted decision-making abilities.
  4. In extreme cases of abuse or neglect, parental contact may be denied completely.

When you are seeking to divorce an abusive spouse, you will need legal support that you can trust. At the Law Office of Petrelli Previtera, we can help you navigate the legal path to divorce while you focus on providing safety for yourself and your children. Contact us for a consultation today!