Know Your Rights: Legal Guidance for Divorce and Domestic Violence Cases

Divorce and domestic violence cases in New York are complex and emotionally charged legal matters. Navigating these cases requires a clear understanding of your rights and the legal processes involved. In New York, specific laws and protections are in place to support victims of domestic violence, as well as to ensure fair divorce proceedings.

The Impact of Domestic Violence on Divorce Proceedings

Domestic violence can significantly affect divorce proceedings, influencing various legal aspects and decisions. Domestic violence cases in New York can be a valid reason for filing for divorce. This is known as “cruel and inhuman treatment.” When you file for divorce on these grounds, it shows that you have experienced severe abuse. The court recognizes the seriousness of domestic violence cases in New York, and focuses on protecting the victim’s safety and well-being. This legal ground ensures that the abuse is properly addressed and taken into account during the divorce process. Here are some aspects of divorce that are affected by domestic violence in New York: 

Child Custody and Visitation

One of the most critical areas impacted by domestic violence cases in New York when it comes to divorce proceedings is child custody and visitation. Courts in New York prioritize the safety and best interests of the children when making custody decisions. Evidence of domestic violence can significantly influence these decisions, often leading to limited or supervised visitation for the abusive parent. In some domestic violence cases in New York, the court may award sole custody to the non-abusive parent to ensure the children’s safety and emotional well-being.

Spousal Support (Alimony)

Domestic violence cases in New York can also affect spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance, decisions. The court considers various factors when determining spousal support, including the conduct of both parties during the marriage. In cases where one spouse has been abusive, the court may award higher spousal support to the victim, acknowledging the hardships endured and helping them achieve financial stability post-divorce.

Division of Marital Property

New York courts strive to divide assets fairly, taking into account several factors, including the behavior of both parties. When it comes to domestic violence cases in New York, the court may award a larger portion of the marital property to the victim, acknowledging the abuser’s impact on their financial and emotional well-being. This ensures that the victim is better supported as they rebuild their life.

Legal Protections and Orders of Protection

During divorce proceedings, victims of domestic violence can seek additional legal protections to ensure their safety. Obtaining an Order of Protection (restraining order) is a key step for many victims. This order legally prevents the abuser from contacting or approaching the victim and can include provisions such as removing the abuser from the marital home and granting sole custody of children to the victim on a temporary basis while the case is being litigated.  

If you are involved in a domestic violence case in New York and seeking a divorce, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who can provide the legal guidance and support you need. Our team of divorce attorneys at Brian D. Perskin & Associates have the expertise to discuss your case and ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.

How to Obtain an Order of Protection in New York

In domestic violence cases in New York, Orders of Protection provide a vital layer of security for victims navigating the divorce process. If you are seeking to obtain an Order of Protection in New York, here is an overview of how the process may look: 

Step 1: Filing a Petition

To start the process of obtaining an Order of Protection in Family Court, you need to file a detailed petition. This petition serves as a formal request to the court for legal protection from your abuser. It is crucial to provide a comprehensive account of the incidents of domestic violence in New York, including specific details such as dates, times, and descriptions of each incident. Your petition should clearly explain the nature and extent of the abuse, highlighting any patterns of behavior and the immediate danger you face. Once the petition is filed, the judge may issue a Temporary Order of Protection. 

Step 2: The Court Hearing

A court hearing will be scheduled to determine whether a final Order of Protection should be granted. This hearing allows you to present your case and evidence of the abuse. It is essential to be well-prepared, organized, and ready to convey the severity of your situation. Bring documentation such as police reports, medical records, photographs of injuries, and threatening communications from the abuser. Witness testimonies from those who have observed the abuse can also be powerful.

During the hearing, you may need to testify about the incidents of domestic violence. Your testimony should be detailed, specific, and focused on the frequency and severity of the abuse. Staying calm and clear can significantly strengthen your case. 

Step 3: Final Order of Protection

The judge will review all evidence and testimonies in your domestic violence case in New York to decide whether a final Order of Protection is warranted. If granted, the order will provide long-term protection, potentially including prohibiting contact with the abuser, ensuring they stay away from your home and workplace, and granting you sole custody of your children. Obtaining legal representation is crucial to help navigate the hearing effectively, and to ensure your rights are protected.

Enforcement and Violation

Once an Order of Protection is issued, it is legally binding, and any violation of its terms can result in serious consequences for the abuser. If the abuser violates the order, the first step is to contact law enforcement immediately. Provide the police with a copy of the order and any evidence of the violation, such as recorded messages, eyewitness accounts, or physical evidence. The police can arrest the abuser for violating the order, leading to potential criminal charges.

If you experience any difficulties enforcing the Order of Protection involved with your domestic violence case in New York, consult your attorney immediately. They can help you take further legal action to ensure the order is enforced, including filing a motion for contempt of court against the abuser. Remember, the primary goal is to maintain your safety and uphold the legal protections granted by the Court.

Choosing the Right Attorney for Your Domestic Violence and Divorce Case

Selecting the right attorney is crucial when dealing with domestic violence and divorce cases in New York. The complexities involved in such cases require a legal professional who not only understands the law, but also empathizes with the emotional and psychological challenges faced by victims. Our attorneys are skilled in securing Orders of Protection, negotiating favorable custody arrangements, and ensuring fair spousal support and property division. We prioritize our clients’ well-being, and strive to create a safe and trusting attorney-client relationship. We work diligently to protect your interests. Our proven track record of achieving positive outcomes for clients in domestic violence and divorce cases is a testament to our expertise and dedication. Don’t face this alone—contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward a safer, more secure future.

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