Are you a victim of domestic violence? If you are, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed. Afraid. Uncertain of where to turn, or what to do. It’s important to know and understand first and foremost, that if you find yourself in this situation, it’s not your fault – and you aren’t alone. Many people suffer silently from domestic violence each year – but you don’t have to suffer silently any more. You may be ready to speak up – to make your voice heard. You may wonder if the violence you are suffering is grounds for divorce. If you find yourself wondering this, you should know that in North Carolina, you can obtain a divorce for any reason – it’s called no-fault divorce, and you’re entitled to that if you feel that it’s the best path forward for your family.
What is “no-fault” divorce? In North Carolina, and across the country, the law typically no longer requires that either party prove wrongdoing on the part of the other to do so. However, this doesn’t mean that domestic violence might not play an important role in your divorce. Domestic violence is a horrible reality that is experienced by far too many people every day. Understandably, courts frown upon domestic divorce of all kinds – and if you can provide evidence that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is abusive, courts will generally consider that evidence very seriously.
From a legal perspective, domestic violence includes threats of, or actual physical or sexual violence, emotional or psychological abuse, stalking, and financial abuse, among other things. The bottom line is if you feel that something is off – if you feel that what you are enduring is not normal and intolerable – seek help. Seeking professional counseling, a safe place, and whatever legal intervention necessary is key. After doing so, it is always a wise decision to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced divorce attorney about what options you might have available to protect yourself and your children from a legal perspective, and about how domestic violence might affect your divorce.
Depending upon the severity and frequency of the domestic violence that is occurring, it may significantly affect a wide variety of issues from child custody to alimony and everything in between. An attorney who knows and understands the law can help you to thoroughly assess your circumstances, and help you to determine the safest and best path forward for your family. Taking this first step and hiring an attorney who can guide you through this process is essential, and the importance of doing so cannot be overstated.
If you or someone you love is the victim of domestic violence, the first, and absolutely the most important thing you should do is to ensure the safety of yourself and your children. After you have done so, you can focus on the issues involved in your divorce. When you’re ready to do so, we’ll be here for you. At The Law Office of Dustin McCrary, we specialize in helping clients move through the divorce process and onto a bright new chapter smoothly and successfully – and we would love to do the same for you.