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Domestic violence: What to look for and what it means for you

Domestic violence affects many people across American every year, and evidence of abuse or even just allegations of domestic violence can have an effect on some aspects of divorce, such as child custody. Whether you are the victim or the person being accused of abuse, understanding what constitutes domestic violence and what evidence and patterns officers look for when making an arrest can help you be better prepared for how these allegations will affect your divorce.

Domestic violence is generally separated into two categories: physical and mental/emotional. However, nonphysical abuse can be very difficult to prove in a criminal charge and is harder to get the family courts to take into consideration with divorce or custody proceedings. If you have proof of threatening, stalking or intimidating behaviors through text, voicemail or other communications, it may help establish a pattern.

Physical abuse cases generally need some sort of proof to be considered a factor in family court proceedings, and that can include police reports, photographs taken by the responding officers of any injuries and medical records documenting emergency room or doctor's visits.

Domestic violence offenders tend to have cycles of abuse and then have periods where everything is relatively normal and the relationship appears to have stabilized. Because of this, it's normal for partners to question whether the incidents are enough to factor into the divorce or whether it should be an issue as far as parent having visitation with a child.

Domestic violence cases can also be applicable to those currently married or those who are in a relationship but not married. No matter your circumstances or which side of the allegations you fall on, talking with an attorney can help you better understand your options and what comes next.

Source: HelpGuide.org, "Domestic Violence and Abuse," accessed April. 21, 2015

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