Responding to a Spouse’s Domestic Violence Claims

Top Divorce Lawyer

The consequences of being accused of committing domestic violence against a spouse are significant and may leave you asking “who is a skilled family law attorney?”. Even if the charges are ultimately dropped or you are proven innocent, the stigma associated with the accusation alone can be taxing. It is therefore important to understand how these claims can impact you in a criminal context, in a civil context and in a family law context. Once you better understand what you are facing, you will place yourself in the best possible position to ask informed questions when speaking with your attorney and crafting a legal strategy.

Criminal and Civil Challenges

Criminal charges may be filed in the wake of your spouse’s accusations. If you are arrested, please remember that you have the right to avoid answering questions until your lawyer is present regardless of whether or not you have actually committed misconduct.

Similarly, your spouse may choose to file a civil lawsuit against you with the aim of obtaining compensation for any harm that has occurred. He or she may also file a request for a restraining order against you. If you have any questions about how to respond to these kinds of legal actions, an attorney will be able to advise you of your options. Even if you have done nothing wrong, it is important to respect the terms of a restraining order if one is approved on either a temporary or long-term basis. Violating the terms of a restraining order can land you in jail and/or cost you fines.

Family Law Challenges

If you are navigating the divorce process, accusations of domestic violence may impact your situation in several ways. First, you will likely be compelled to either have your attorney negotiate a divorce settlement with your spouse’s attorney or you will need to “battle” your divorce in court. Mediation is generally not a great option for spouses dealing with domestic violence accusations because there is a great deal of anger, mistrust and fear generated by this specific challenge.

Second, if you live in a state that permits fault-based divorce filings instead of a standard no-fault approach, your property division and spousal support settlements may be affected by the perception that your conduct caused the end of the marriage.

Third, if your spouse successfully argues that your conduct proves that your presence is not in the best interests of any children you may have, your child custody arrangements may be affected by your spouse’s accusations.

Legal Help Is Available

Regardless of whether you have committed harmful conduct, you are entitled to representation in response to any criminal charges that may have been filed against you. In addition, it is important to seek legal counsel for any family law actions you may be affected by or you risk being granted an unfair divorce and/or child custody settlement. As a result, it may benefit you to speak with an attorney today about your situation so that you may make informed decisions about your legal options moving forward.