Are You Divorcing? Have You Been Accused of Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence accusations are taken quite seriously by the courts in Missouri. If you are accused of domestic violence during a divorce proceeding in the State of Missouri, you must be represented and advised by a Jefferson County divorce lawyer.

In every state, domestic violence is a real and persistent concern. It impacts separation, divorce, and child custody disputes. Each year in the U.S., over ten million men, women, and children become domestic violence victims.

People divorce for a variety of reasons, but domestic violence may be the leading reason. While the courts in Missouri take domestic violence allegations seriously, the courts cannot presume that an allegation is true merely because a party in a divorce proceeding makes the accusation.

Instead, in a Missouri divorce, the party making a domestic violence claim must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a domestic violence incident in fact took place. The courts follow specific statutes and rules regarding domestic violence claims that arise in a divorce.

What Should You Know About Protection Orders and Divorce?

In Missouri, if a domestic violence allegation is made during a divorce proceeding, the court must consider the evidence and determine if domestic violence actually took place. When a domestic violence allegation is made, a Missouri court may issue a temporary or ex parte order of protection, usually good for ten days, until the court can convene a full hearing on the matter.

When a full hearing can’t be immediately scheduled, the ex parte order may be extended by the court. In a full hearing, both parties may testify, offer evidence, and question witnesses. The court may then retract the protection order or issue a full order of protection, which may stay in effect for up to one year and include specific conditions to protect the domestic violence victim.

Protection orders in Missouri may require a domestic violence perpetrator (or someone accused of domestic violence) to refrain from contacting or coming within a certain distance of the victim, entering the victim’s home or workplace, or surveilling or stalking the victim. A Missouri order of protection may be enforced in all fifty states, and violations carry criminal penalties.

How Can Domestic Violence Affect a Divorce Proceeding?

A divorce court in Missouri will consider a claim of domestic violence when the court makes decisions about child custody, the division of marital property, and spousal maintenance (alimony).

Under Missouri law, child custody disputes must be decided on the basis of the child’s best interests. If the judge determines that one of the spouses is capable of or likely to commit domestic violence, that spouse will probably be denied custody of the couple’s child or children.

An abusive parent, in some cases, may also be denied visitation rights. If visitation rights are denied to a parent, that parent must prove to the court that he or she is rehabilitated in order for the court to modify its order and allow visitations.

Can You Divorce on the Basis of Domestic Violence?

Missouri is a no-fault divorce state, so it’s not necessary for one spouse to prove that the other is at fault for the divorce. Some states still permit the spouse who is filing for divorce to claim fault-based grounds for the divorce, but Missouri is not one of those states.

While evidence of fault is not required in order to divorce in Missouri, evidence of fault – such as adultery or domestic violence – could become important when the property division, child custody, and spousal maintenance questions are decided by the court.

If you have been a victim of domestic violence in your marriage, a Jefferson County divorce attorney will help you decide if the evidence of domestic violence should be included in your own divorce case.

What if You Are Falsely Accused?

During a divorce proceeding, if your spouse accuses you of domestic violence, making the claim is not enough. Your spouse will need to prove it. Fabricated domestic violence claims are probably made more frequently than most people would imagine.

Such false claims are made for a variety of reasons, but in a divorce proceeding, false domestic violence claims are typically made in an effort to influence the court’s decisions about property division, spousal support, and child custody.

When there’s an accusation of domestic violence in a Missouri divorce proceeding, it isn’t always easy to separate the truth from the lies. Your Jefferson County divorce lawyer will fight to uncover the truth, but a fake domestic violence allegation is like any other phony claim, and in a divorce proceeding, what is and isn’t true may be decided by a complete stranger – the judge.

What Else Should You Know About Divorce in Missouri?

Filing for divorce is not difficult in this state. The only requirement is a residency requirement which stipulates that the spouse who is filing for the divorce must be a resident of Missouri for at least ninety days before he or she may file a divorce petition.

Before you file for divorce, arrange to discuss your rights and options with a Jefferson County divorce attorney. If your spouse is the partner who is seeking the divorce, contact a Missouri divorce attorney as soon as you have been served with divorce papers or even earlier if possible.

Let Grafe & Batchelor Handle Your Divorce

With over thirty years of combined legal experience, the team at Grafe & Batchelor will ensure that you’re treated fairly and justly during the divorce process. Your first case evaluation is offered without cost or obligation.

The attorneys at Grafe & Batchelor have considerable experience resolving the most acrimonious and complicated divorce disputes. Whether you have been a victim of domestic violence or you stand accused of domestic violence, we will bring your divorce to its best possible resolution.

If you anticipate a dispute over property, child custody, or spousal maintenance, or if you need to learn more about your rights and options in a Missouri divorce proceeding, schedule a free case evaluation with Grafe & Batchelor now by calling 636-220-5934. We are ready to work for you.