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Can domestic violence be grounds for divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | FAMILY LAW - Domestic Violence |

Yes, domestic violence is absolutely grounds for divorce in New Jersey. Suppose you’re experiencing domestic violence in your marriage; you should know that you have legal options.

The state recognizes domestic violence as a serious issue and provides protection for victims seeking divorce. If you’re experiencing domestic violence in your marriage, it is crucial to explore how domestic violence can be used as grounds for divorce and the potential impact that this situation could have on your case.

Understanding domestic violence and extreme cruelty

If you choose a fault-based divorce in the Garden State, domestic violence can be cited as extreme cruelty. This legal term refers to a spouse’s behavior that makes it unreasonable to expect the other spouse to continue living together. Domestic violence encompasses various forms of abuse, including:

  • Physical abuse: Hitting, kicking, shoving or any act that causes physical harm
  • Emotional abuse: Yelling, name-calling, humiliation, threats and intimidation
  • Sexual abuse: All forms of unwanted sexual contact or coercion
  • Financial abuse: Controlling finances, denying access to money or sabotaging credit

It’s important to remember that both physical and emotional abuse can qualify as extreme cruelty. Even if there haven’t been physical injuries, a pattern of emotional abuse can be grounds for divorce.

How domestic violence affects your divorce case

First of all, if you fear for your safety, you can file for a restraining order to safeguard yourself and your children from further abuse. This order should restrict the abuser’s contact with you and your property.

In some cases, the court may consider the abusive spouse’s behavior when dividing marital property. For instance, if the abuser used financial abuse to control the victim’s access to money, the court might award the victim a larger share of the marital assets.

If you’re experiencing domestic violence and considering divorce, it’s crucial to seek help from a skilled legal team. They can guide you through the legal process, help to better ensure your safety and advocate for your best interests.