Accusations of domestic violence are devastating for everyone involved. Victims of domestic violence need immediate help. They must have a safe place of retreat, and when they divorce their abuser, they deserve compensation for their troubles.
People who are falsely accused of domestic violence need help as well. Deceitful reports happen more often than you might believe. According to a 2020 study, at least 8% of all Americans were wrongfully accused. This figure represents about 20 million people.
Here are some ways that a domestic violence allegation can impact the outcome of a divorce.
Like most states, Tennessee operates under the “equitable” property division model. Essentially, courts give property to the most deserving spouse, who is not necessarily the person who bought or paid for the asset.
Because of this system of fairness, a court can use domestic violence to influence the amount of property that changes hands. If it believes one spouse was harmed by the other, it can give that victim more property than it normally would. Doing this allows the family court to operate more like a civil court, using property as a means of compensation.
Victims of domestic abuse deserve this extra compensation. It’s a way of paying them back for their pain and suffering. Alternatively, someone who has been falsely accused should not suffer due to another person’s lies.
Alimony, also called spousal support, should be based on cold, pragmatic facts. Ideally, it should focus only on the length of the marriage, the lifestyle of the family, the earning potential of each spouse, and other similar factors.
If there is evidence of abuse in the relationship, the court can order the abuser to pay more support than necessary. Once again, it uses this extra money as a form of civil compensation.
Just like property division, extra spousal support is both a blessing and a curse. For the victim, it helps make life more comfortable as they transition into singlehood. For the wrongfully accused, it hurts their finances for no good reason.
Children deserve a safe, happy environment. If they experience abuse, or if they witnessed violence in the home, they should not be left with their abusive parent. Courts understand this fact, and they will not hand the children over to someone who harms them.
Even if an abusive adult doesn’t directly harm the children, they could still lose custody rights. Courts may consider a parent’s “character” in a custody decision. If they believe that a parent is abusive to anyone, they may also think that the children are better off with the other parent.
You can already surmise how a wrongful domestic abuse accusation could harm a good parent. They may lose time with their kids, being forced to undergo supervised visitations. The court could put them through a training course, and they can regain custody or visitation only upon successful completion of this program.
Getting Help from an Attorney
If there are domestic abuse allegations in your divorce, no matter what side you are on, you need help from an attorney.
Proving domestic violence is like any other court process. It requires gathering evidence, presenting witnesses, and so on. The same is true for people who must counter false accusations. Your attorney will be invaluable in helping you prove or disprove these claims.
Our firm is there to represent clients affects by domestic violence and those who must fight against such accusations. If you need help, schedule time with us online or call us now at (931) 361-4477.