How Domestic Violence Can Affect Texas Divorce
Domestic violence is an unfortunate part of many Texan’s realities, with statistics reporting that a third of all women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. In 2021, over 6,110 people sought help from Texas family violence programs.
This blog will delve into theprofound implications domestic violence has on divorce cases in the Lone Star State. We'll explore how it can provide grounds for divorce, influence protective orders, and sway decisions regarding child custody and property division.
Domestic Violence | Cruelty as Grounds for Divorce
In Texas, spouses can file for divorce on no-fault grounds, meaning they do not need to prove any wrongdoing. However, in cases involving domestic violence, the abused spouse can file for divorce on the grounds of cruelty, as stipulated under Section 6.002 of the Texas Family Code.
Cruelty involves a pattern of conduct that is physically or mentally harmful and renders living together insupportable. Proving cruelty can influence the court's decisions on various aspects of the divorce, including child custody and property division.
Domestic Violence Can Allow the Court to Waive the Waiting Period
Texas courts impose a 60-day waiting period on divorcing couples. Meaning, after you file your divorce petition, you cannot have your divorce hearing for at least 60 days. However, a judge can shorten or waive the waiting period if you are the victim/survivor of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Can Allow a Person to File for Protective Orders
Victims of domestic violence in Texas can request a protective order during divorce proceedings. A protective order, under Chapter 85 of the Texas Family Code, can be issued if the court finds that family violence has occurred and is likely to occur again in the future. The order can apply to the person who committed the act of family violence or both parties.
These orders can prohibit the abuser from committing further acts of family violence, communicating with the victim, or going near the victim's home or workplace. Violation of these orders can result in criminal penalties.
Domestic Violence Can Impact Child Custody Determinations
Texas courts prioritize the best interest of the child when determining custody arrangements. Domestic violence plays a crucial role in these decisions. If there is a domestic violence allegation, the court will investigate the claim. They will also consider a parent’s history of violence.
Domestic Violence Can Affect Property Division
Texas is a community property state, which generally means that all property acquired during the marriage is divided equally upon divorce. However, family violence does allow the court to consider whether an unequal division of assets is allowable.
Talk with a Skilled Divorce Attorney
If you or someone you know is facing a situation involving domestic violence and divorce, it is crucial to seek legal assistance to navigate these complex issues. While you may be reluctant to tell your attorney (or anyone else) about domestic violence or abuse, you should, as your attorney can advise you how domestic violence can impact your divorce case specifically.
At The Clark Law Firm, our attorneys help clients protect their rights and understand their legal rights during the divorce process. We also help clients file petitions for protection orders and handle other divorce-related matters.
Call (817) 435-4970 to schedule a case consultation and discuss your case with our team.