Texas has a serious problem with domestic violence. Not only does it have high rates of domestic violence, but it also has a significant problem with police officers being assaulted when they respond to reports of domestic violence. Understandably, Texas law takes domestic violence seriously and the presence of domestic violence has the potential to have a major impact on the outcome of legal proceedings like divorce.

While divorcing an abusive spouse can be dangerous and frightening, there are protection mechanisms to keep victims safe as they try to leave their abusers. If you are considering divorce and domestic violence is part of the equation, it is important to understand the protections available to you, as well as how domestic violence could influence the outcome of your divorce.

Emergency Protective Orders

For those who are worried that a spouse may become imminently violent upon learning of the intent to divorce, emergency protective orders may be necessary to keep that spouse away from his or her family. Emergency protective orders are available without interviewing the spouse accused of abuse, although a full hearing needs to be scheduled for the protective order to be extended. Be aware that you will need to have evidence of domestic violence to apply for and extend a protective order.

Is There a Waiting Period for Divorce in Texas?

Although Texas normally has a 60-day waiting period before a divorce can be finalized, victims of domestic violence can ask a judge to speed up the divorce so the process can be finished more quickly.

Can Domestic Violence Influence the Outcome of a Divorce?

While domestic violence is not grounds for divorce, Texas law does include “cruelty” as one of the possible grounds for divorce. However, no-fault divorce grounds are also available in Texas. So you do not necessarily need to prove that your spouse was abusive to be granted a divorce.

Child custody can be severely restricted or taken away from a domestic abuser altogether. A parent who has been convicted of domestic violence or abuse, or child sexual assault, can lose the possibility to have both access and possession (visitation) and conservatorship (custody, or decision-making responsibilities for a child).

Domestic violence can also result in the victimized spouse getting a greater share of marital assets, especially if a judge orders an abusive spouse to pay restitution for things like seeking shelter outside the home, therapy, and more.

Contact a Dallas, TX Family Lawyer

If you are getting divorced and dealing with issues of domestic violence, it is essential to work with a Fort Worth, TX family law attorney who understands the possible implications of domestic violence on the divorce process. Schedule a confidential consultation with Clark Law Group by calling 469-906-2266 today.

Source: https://www.dps.texas.gov/sites/default/files/documents/crimereports/08/citch5.pdf