If you have suffered mental, emotional, or physical domestic abuse throughout your marriage, you may feel like you cannot escape the marriage fast enough. One thing, though, may be plaguing your mind: If you have made significantly more money than your spouse, concerns about having to pay spousal support are probably more than a little irksome. What are your rights and responsibilities going forward? While every situation is different, an experienced local family practice attorney can guide you going forward.
What is Domestic Abuse?
The statistics on domestic violence in this country are deeply troubling. 10 million instances of domestic abuse — roughly 20 people per minute — are physically harmed by an intimate partner every year in America. Nearly one-fifth of those incidents involve the use of a weapon.
- The intentional and/or reckless attempt to cause bodily harm;
- Assault of a sexual nature;
- Causing rear that one will cause serious harm to another imminently;
- Engaging in behavior that may or may not result in actual physical assault or injury.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that such instances of domestic abuse occur in all kinds of relationships and involve individuals of all races, socioeconomic levels, education levels, religions, and genders. It is generally a control tactic; domestic abusers use fear as a weapon to get what they want from their victims, who often feel coerced, intimidated, and powerless.
The Conviction Does Matter
The good news for you is, having a domestic violence conviction will impact the outcomes of your divorce agreement. The extent of financial protections afforded a domestic abuse victim varies depending on the type of conviction and the time frame of that conviction.
For misdemeanor convictions that occurred within the past five years of your marriage, a judge will postulate that you should not have to either pay spousal support or pay for your spouse’s attorney’s fees under the doctrine of rebuttable presumption. However, your spouse may fight against that presumption and provide additional evidence to attempt to convince the judge otherwise.
If your spouse was convicted of a domestic violence felony or a violent sexual felony within the past five years, or within five years of being imprisoned, paroled, or on probation, you cannot be ordered to pay any spousal support or for your spouse’s attorney’s fees. Continue reading →