Three FAQs about domestic violence and divorce

Unfortunately, domestic violence allegations tend to go hand-in-hand with many divorce proceedings and child custody disputes. If you have been accused of this crime, you may have a hundred concerns about how it will affect your parental rights and other aspects of your life.

Here are three frequently asked questions and answers about domestic violence (DV) charges and divorce in New York:

I never hit my spouse, so how can I be charged with domestic violence?

DV doesn't have to entail physical abuse. According to the New York Courts, DV in this state can include "physical, psychological, sexual, economic and emotional abuse." Essentially, any tactics that are repeatedly used to intimidate and control a spouse or other intimate partner can be considered DV.

My spouse is threatening to get an order of protection against me. What will that mean?

An order of protection (sometimes referred to as a restraining order) is a court order demanding that you follow certain instructions in order to keep the alleged victim safe. Among other things, an order of protection can tell you to:

  • Move out of the family home
  • Stop calling or visiting your children
  • Surrender legal custody of your children
  • Pay a certain amount of child support
  • Give up your right to carry a firearm

If you have a child with the alleged victim, an order of protection can dramatically affect your position as a parent. You can easily lose custody or visitation rights in your divorce.

The other parent falsely accused me just to win custody. What can I do?

You have the right to contest the accusations against you. In fact, it is critical that you do so if you want to protect your relationships with your children. If you do nothing, the judge may grant a permanent protective order, which often lasts an entire year.

The best thing to do is to get an experienced attorney on your side as soon as possible. He or she can explain all your rights and advocate for your best interests in the integrated domestic violence (IDV) court.

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