How a Domestic Violence Charge Can Impact Your Divorce

two gold wedding bands set on top of divorce papers

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you’re going through a divorce and have a domestic violence charge hanging over your head. The stakes are high – a single misstep could have life-changing consequences for you and your family.

But you’re not in this alone. A New Jersey domestic violence divorce attorney can protect your rights and your future.

This article discusses domestic violence charges in New Jersey, how these charges impact child custody and financial issues in a divorce, and how a criminal defense lawyer can help.

Types of Domestic Violence Charges in New Jersey

Domestic violence can encompass a variety of criminal offenses under New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. The law describes domestic violence as a pattern of physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse and threats, intimidation, isolation, and financial control that often escalate over time.

Under New Jersey law, the following criminal offenses are considered acts of domestic violence when committed against a protected person:

  • Homicide
  • Criminal sexual contact
  • Assault
  • Lewdness
  • Terroristic threats
  • Robbery
  • Stalking
  • Criminal mischief
  • Kidnapping
  • Burglary
  • Criminal restraint
  • False imprisonment
  • Contempt
  • Criminal coercion
  • Harassment
  • Sexual assault
  • Cyber-harassment
  • Any other crime involving risk of death or serious bodily injury to someone protected by the Act

Individuals protected under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act in New Jersey include any person 18 or older or any emancipated minor who has experienced domestic violence from:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • A present or former household member
  • A person with whom the victim shares or expects to share a child
  • A person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship

Potential Impact of Domestic Violence on Child Custody

In child custody proceedings in New Jersey, accusations or convictions of domestic violence could significantly affect a family court’s decisions. This aligns with the state’s legal obligation to prioritize the child’s best interests.

Possible consequences of a domestic violence charge in a child custody case could include:

  • Court-ordered investigations or custody evaluations
  • Limited visitation rights for the accused parent
  • Supervised visitation requirements for the accused parent
  • Loss of physical or legal custody of the child

Potential Impact of Domestic Violence on Financial Issues in Divorce

New Jersey adheres to an equitable distribution law when dividing property in divorce cases, which means the court will divide the property fairly but not necessarily equally.

The court will consider various factors when dividing marital property. While the court is not legally required to consider domestic violence, it is allowed to consider any factor the court deems relevant. Thus, domestic violence could affect the allocation of property and debts. Similarly, when making decisions about alimony, the court may consider any relevant factor, including domestic violence charges.

If one spouse files a restraining order against another over domestic violence accusations, the court could issue additional orders that might affect the divorce, such as ordering the accused to pay child support or attend anger management classes.

How Our New Jersey Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Can Help

You need effective legal representation and zealous advocacy if you’re facing domestic violence charges during divorce proceedings. At William Proetta Criminal Law, we have the experience and resources to fight domestic violence charges.

Contact our New Jersey domestic violence defense lawyer now for a free and confidential case review.

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.