Cleveland Family Law Attorneys

Filing for Divorce in an Abusive Marriage

The presence of abuse in a marriage relationship can deter the abused spouse from filing for divorce. The abused spouse may be fearful of what the abusive spouse will do to him or her after the divorce papers are filed. Perhaps the abusive spouse controlled the couple’s finances and the abused spouse is uncertain how he or she will provide for him- or herself. Where one spouse is abusive toward another, an attorney can secure certain protections for the abused spouse.

My Spouse is Abusive – What Should I Do?

If you are in an abusive relationship, the first priority should be to protect yourself and your children. Reach out for help by contacting family, friends, a domestic violence hotline, and/or local police. An attorney or domestic abuse counselor can also help create a safety plan with you and your family and friends if you do not feel you are able to leave the situation.

Protection from abuse orders can also be obtained from the court to provide additional protections to the abused spouse. These protective orders can award you temporary custody of your children and your residence (if you wish to remain in your residence). In addition, these orders can require the abusive spouse to not contact you and others, to not harass you while at work, and to provide you with personal possessions you may have had to leave behind. Violations of these protective orders can be considered a criminal offense.

What If I Do Not Have Access to Any Money?

Some abusive spouses control their partners by controlling the couple’s money and assets. A lack of money, however, should not deter an abused spouse from seeking a divorce. Temporary orders or protective orders can be entered requiring that the abusive spouse provide monetary support to the abused spouse. The abused spouse’s attorney can also ask the court to order the abusive spouse to pay for the court and attorney’s fees of the abused spouse.

What If I Have Been Falsely Accused of Abuse?

Courts tend to believe allegations of abuse and will likely enter temporary orders and/or protective orders if one spouse alleges abuse. This encourages some spouses to exaggerate – or even fabricate – incidents of “abuse” in order to obtain some sort of advantage or power over the other spouse. It is important that those who are falsely accused of abuse obtain the assistance of an experienced attorney. Temporary orders and protective orders can create a hardship on those against whom they are obtained; vigorous legal counsel can help set these orders aside.

If you are involved in an abusive relationship, your first concern should be your safety and the safety of your children. Reach out for help by contacting family and friends, your local police, or a domestic violence hotline or center. By contacting us for a consultation, we can provide additional advice and suggestions as well as helping you obtain orders to further protect you and help end the cycle of violence. Contact us at (440) 336-8687.