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Facts and Factors about Domestic Violence and Divorce

October is National Domestic Violence Month in the United States. Established by presidential proclamation, that is the time of year in which a special focus is to be placed upon the grim reality that domestic violence remains a very real problem in the country. In this article, we discuss the connection that exists in some instances between domestic violence and divorce.

Basic Statistics About Domestic Violence

Before diving deeper into our discussion of domestic violence and divorce, a consideration of some statistical information can assist in putting the prevalence and problem of domestic violence into perspective.

  • Far and away, women are the primary victims of domestic violence.
  • With that said, there are cases in which a man in an intimate relationship with a woman is the victim of domestic violence.
  • Moreover, domestic violence does occur in same sex relationships as well. Data is not as extensive in regard to domestic violence in same sex relationships.
  • There appears to be a higher incidence of domestic violence in male same sex marriages and intimate relationships than is the case with female same sex relationships.
  • A woman is assaulted or beaten in the U.S.A. approximately every 10 seconds.
  • One in three women in the country have been abused physically by an intimate partner.
  • One in five instances of physical abuse of a woman in an intimate relationship is classified as severe.
  • One in seven women have been stalked by their intimate partner.
  • Of those women who have been or are being stalked by their spouse, a marked number of this conduct occurs while divorce proceedings are ongoing.
  • In the United States, domestic violence hotlines receive about 28,000 calls a day
Domestic Violence as a Grounds for a New Jersey Divorce

In the state of New Jersey domestic violence can form the basis for pursuing a divorce. Specifically, New Jersey law establishes cruelty as a grounds for divorce. When it comes to domestic violence and divorce, New Jersey law defines cruelty as “any willful or malicious act that causes physical or emotional harm to a spouse.” As a grounds for a New Jersey marriage dissolution case, examples of cruelty include:

  • Physical violence
  • Verbal abuse
  • Emotional abuse or emotional manipulation
Domestic Violence and Child Custody Issues

When it comes to domestic violence and divorce, you may wonder what impact intimate violence of this nature might have on custody matters in marriage dissolution proceedings. The reality is that domestic violence potentially can play a role in custody determinations made by a court in a New Jersey divorce case.

In many cases involving domestic violence, a spouse is the sole target and a child is not a direct victim of this type of abuse. With that said, there are also many cases in which a child is a witness to domestic violence, a situation which is a type of abuse of that child in and of itself.

The bottom line is that if domestic violence is an issue in divorce proceedings, it can be a factor used by a court in making custody and parenting time decisions. This is the case whether or not domestic violence is the grounds for a divorce in the first instance.

When it comes to child custody and parenting time, the court is faced with applying what is known as the best interests of a child standard. In applying this standard, the court is called upon to consider the specific facts and circumstances of a particular case. These facts would include those associated with the domestic abuse of one of the spouses and how that has or potentially can impact a child.

President’s Domestic Violence Proclamation

President Barack Obama was the U.S. Chief Executive that established National Domestic Violence Month. In doing so, President Obama stated:

Our Nation’s character is tested whenever this injustice is tolerated. When anyone is targeted by someone they place their trust in, we have a responsibility to speak up. We all have a role to play in building a bright and safe future for each other and for future generations. This month, we recommit to standing with survivors of domestic violence and to doing our utmost to extend hope and healing to all who need it.

If you have a case involving domestic violence call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at 201-845-7400 for a consultation.

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