To follow up from our last blog that you can read here, we wanted to discuss how domestic violence can impact the divorce process. If you are wanting to get a divorce and there is domestic violence currently occurring in your relationship or there is a history of domestic violence there are some things you should know.
-Safety first: Above all else, protect yourself and your children. This can mean that you need to get a restraining order. A restraining order could potentially mean that your partner would have to move out of the house and stay away from you and your children. If you get a restraining order it could be beneficial to let your employer and your children's schools be aware of the situation. You also have options such as domestic violence shelters where you can go until you have sorted out the need for a restraining order.
-Obtain legal counsel: Some might think that getting a mediator in order to placate the other party is what is best. However, if domestic violence is still occurring in the relationship, mediation will not be successful. Mediation requires both parties to work together towards a solution. If power plays still exist, it will thwart the effort of the mediator. However, if your relationship has a history of domestic violence but those issues have been resolved through counseling or some other intervention, then a mediator may be able to help you with your divorce process.
-Get additional help: Counseling and family/community support is essential to helping you get through this divorce. Divorces that are litigated are much more stressful than those that are mediated. Add to that the stress of domestic violence and you have a recipe for even more stress and strain. Counseling can give you the tools and education to learn how to cope with what is going on as well as not repeat patterns in future relationships. Finding people you trust that you can call when you need to talk is helpful as well. Because one of the signs of domestic violence is isolation, this might be very difficult for you to do. It might go against everything you have been telling yourself about how to stay safe. However, the only way to stop the violence is to break the silence.
If you are unsure if mediation or litigation is for you, please contact us to discuss your situation. We will work to direct you to the proper help that you need to stay safe and get through your divorce. If you or someone you know is in a relationship that has domestic violence, please call 1-800-799-SAFE