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Can a History of Domestic Violence with My Spouse Affect My Divorce?

by | Oct 10, 2022 | Uncategorized |

If you have a history of domestic violence with your spouse, it is important to know that there are various ways in which domestic violence can affect your divorce. Since Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, any history or evidence of domestic violence will not impact whether or not the court grants the divorce or what the filing party pleads in their divorce petition. However, it can play a role in other aspects of a divorce case. Our Michigan divorce attorneys can provide you with more information.

Property Division Impact and Access to Financial Documentation

Michigan is an equitable distribution state for purposes of property division, and domestic violence specifically will not alone decide how property is divided. However, one of the “equitable distribution” factors that Michigan law says courts can consider is the “past relations and conduct of the parties.” Accordingly, a history of domestic violence can affect property division under certain circumstances.

In addition, a history of domestic violence could have an effect on a spouse’s ability to access important financial documentation for purposes of ensuring that all marital property is accurately identified and classified. If a spouse has been prevented from accessing assets like bank accounts, or important financial documents as a result of domestic violence, it is important to find out about options by speaking with an attorney.

Child Custody and Parenting Time

A history of domestic violence will nearly always have an effect on child custody and parenting time in a divorce. The court can restrict or limit parenting time or can order supervised parenting time when there is a documented history of violence.

Spousal Support or Alimony

While you may know that Michigan does not have any options for a fault-based divorce, one of the factors that courts can consider in deciding whether to award alimony or spousal support is fault in causing the divorce. Here, a history of domestic violence could result in the court awarding spousal support to the party who has been the subject of domestic violence in the marriage

Mediation Issues

In many divorces in Michigan, the parties will attend mediation at the request of the court or as a result of their own preferences. However, since mediation involves communication and negotiation between the spouses in order to resolve any existing disputes and reach an agreement, Michigan courts recognize how that kind of forced communication can be harmful to the spouse facing abuse and can create a situation of uneven bargaining power. To prevent mediation from being a possibility due to domestic violence, you may be able to file a “Motion to Remove Case from Mediation” form.

Contact a Michigan Divorce Lawyer

If you have any concerns about domestic violence and how it can impact your divorce case, it is essential to seek advice from an experienced Michigan divorce lawyer. Domestic violence can affect many different facets of a divorce case, and it is critical to have an advocate on your side. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins today for more information.