Among all subsegments of the U.S. population, domestic violence remains a prevalent issue. Domestic violence does not discriminate based on your age, sex, gender, marital status, number of children or any other factor – every demographic could potentially fall victim. Whether you are the victim or the alleged perpetrator, you need to understand the effect domestic violence will have on your divorce in New Jersey. For more information, please keep reading, then contact an experienced Ocean County domestic violence attorney soon.
How do New Jersey courts classify domestic violence?
Even if one spouse has never physically injured the other, he or she may still have committed the act of domestic abuse under state law. If you or your spouse yelled, threatened the other’s safety, threw things or broke things, these actions might meet the state’s definition of domestic violence. In fact, the legal definition of acts prohibited under the state’s domestic violence law includes:
- False imprisonment: Restraining someone, with either physical restraints or threats, so as to interfere with their freedom of movement.
- Terroristic threats: Threatening to kill another with the purpose to put him or her in imminent fear of death.
- Harassment: With the intention to harass, communicating either anonymously, at extremely inconvenient hours, in offensively coarse language or in any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm.
- Stalking: Repeatedly maintaining visual or physical proximity.
- Cyber harassment: Making a statement online via an electronic device or on social media, with the purpose to harass and either threatening to injure a person or damaging property or posting lewd or obscene statements or material regarding a person.
- Criminal sexual contact
Will domestic violence have any impact on divorce in New Jersey?
The Garden State allows for both fault and no-fault divorces. In instances of domestic violence, the plaintiff spouse might cite “extreme cruelty” as the grounds for divorce. This may or may not affect the equitable distribution of property, alimony, child custody and child support. For example, a sympathetic judge may order an abusive spouse to pay more in alimony and child support, so long as the other factors justify such a decision. However, if the plaintiff spouse also files charges for domestic violence, and prevails in court, that will most likely have a noticeable impact on the divorce proceedings.
How do charges of domestic violence affect divorce in NJ?
Allegations of domestic violence will undoubtedly impact child custody, especially if the plaintiff obtains and maintains a restraining order. Above all other considerations, the family court will want to serve the best interests of the couple’s children. In the eyes of the family court, a parent accused or convicted of domestic violence presents a risk to the children’s well-being. As such, the court may limit the parent’s visitation, order supervision or even, in extreme cases, suspend or deny visitation entirely until the abusive parent has completed counseling, parenting classes or other court-ordered treatment.
An Ocean County family law attorney can help protect your rights regardless of the side you are on.
Contact our experienced Ocean County firm
If you need a divorce and family law attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey, contact the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC today to schedule a consultation.