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The Impact of Domestic Violence on Texas Divorce

 Posted on November 15, 2023 in Family Law

Galveston County family lawyerDomestic violence is a sad and unfortunate occurrence in marriages the world over. In Texas, you do not need to provide evidence of wrongdoing to file for divorce. However, proof of abuse is grounds for cruelty in a divorce and, as such, can be used to influence a court’s decision on various divorce aspects. A skilled attorney can help you find aid in the case of domestic violence and file for divorce if necessary.

Protection Orders

A marriage fraught with domestic violence can make it difficult to seek a divorce safely. A spouse who is already capable of showing anger may explode at the sight of being handed divorce papers. In this case, it may be prudent to request a temporary emergency protective order, also known as a temporary ex parte order, if you are worried about your safety as well as that of any children in the home.

The abuser does not need to be present for a judge to issue a temporary ex parte order so long as it is apparent you and your children are in danger. An emergency temporary order will last up to 20 days or until you receive a final protection order. You can request that the temporary protection order be extended for 20 days if required. An absolute protection order can last up to two years and is available for extension upon request.

Domestic violence and abuse can also enable a judge to shorten or waive the 60-day divorce waiting period. The 60-day waiting period is the time between when you first file for divorce and when the divorce hearing can take place.

Impact On Child Custody and Visitation

A history of domestic violence can have repercussions on a judge’s final decision for child custody and conservatorship. Joint managing conservatorship is not allowed when there is an abuser in the household. This is regardless of whether the abuse suffered is that of the parent or a child. Texas prohibits any parent who has abused or sexually assaulted a child in the last two years from being awarded sole possession.

Aside from a history of violence, a court will look at many factors in determining the conservatorship of a child and that child’s best interests. The court will investigate all claims and allegations and consider a parent’s history of violence before coming to a final decision.

Visitation rights are still possible for the abusive parent if the court allows it. There will likely be limitations to ensure the child’s safety and well-being. As long as there is no fear of the child’s emotional or physical health being in danger, the court may grant supervised visits to the abusive parent with other possible stipulations, such as:

  • Attending a treatment program
  • Receiving anger management
  • Possible drug or substance rehabilitation

Consult a Galveston County, TX Family Law Attorney

No individual should suffer at the hands of another, especially if the abuser is meant to be someone who cares, loves, and protects you. The office of Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C. can provide a compassionate Galveston, TX family law lawyer to handle your case. If you feel you are trapped in a violent marriage without hope of escape, we can help. Contact the office at 409-392-1511 for a free consultation and much-needed discussion about what can be done for your unique situation.

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