If you are going through a divorce and your partner is abusing you, then you should be very careful with how you handle the divorce process. Otherwise, the abuse may affect the divorce process and end up with an unfair resolution for you. Here are a few tips on what to do when divorcing an abusive spouse.
Don't Choose Collaborative Divorce
A collaborative divorce process is where both parties sit down, each with their respective lawyer, to negotiate the terms of the divorce. This takes place with the understanding that none of the parties will initiate litigation during the collaborative divorce process. Although collaborative divorce may be cheaper, faster, and more peaceful than a litigated divorce, you shouldn't try it if your spouse is abusing you. This is because there is no way you will be able to cooperate with your partner if they are abusing you (and you are probably afraid of them).
Consider Getting Temporary Restraining Orders
If the abuse is ongoing or you are afraid that they may start up again, then you should not risk your health or life by staying with your partner during the divorce. Consult a divorce lawyer to help you get a temporary restraining order to keep your partner away from you. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to get temporary use of the marital home while the divorce is pending.
Don't Assume You Have To Opt For a Fault Divorce
Although you can use family abuse as a ground for divorce, you shouldn't feel that you must opt for a fault divorce if your partner is abusing you. This is because filing for a fault divorce gives you the burden of proving the fault, which may be difficult, time wasting, and expensive. Besides, you can still raise the issue of abuse in a no-fault divorce, for example, when discussing child custody or spousal support.
Determine If the Abuse Extends To the Kids
Lastly, if you have kids, you should determine if they are also being abused or you are the only one directly affected by the abuse. This is particularly true if the abuse is physical or sexual; in fact, in such cases, its best to err on the side of caution and assume that the children are in danger too. This means you should file for temporary custody of the kids while the divorce issues are still being determined.
For more information, contact your local divorce attorney.