07 Dec Domestic Violence and Divorce in South Carolina
There is no better reason to seek a divorce than when one spouse is experiencing domestic violence at the hands of the other spouse. No one deserves to be trapped in a physically abusive relationship. When seeking a divorce on the grounds of domestic violence, your case may vary from other proceedings.
Order of Protection
Before divorce proceedings are begun or at the start of divorce proceedings, the spouse who has experienced domestic violence can and should ask the court to enter an order of protection against the abusive or violent spouse. This is sometimes called a restraining order and helps to prevent the abusive spouse from meeting, contacting or entering within a specified distance of the protected spouse.
Domestic Violence and Grounds for Divorce
Physical cruelty is one of five grounds for divorce under South Carolina law. In order to obtain a divorce on physical cruelty, a physically abused spouse does not have to prove an actual physical injury. Instead, the spouse seeking the divorce must prove that the other spouse’s conduct created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily harm. For example, throwing a knife or shooting a gun at and missing the spouse can constitute physical cruelty.
Alimony and Marital Property
Domestic violence can have a drastic effect on a divorce case. Physical abuse is a factor for the court to consider when awarding alimony or when dividing up the marital property. The physically abusive spouse is almost always likely to get less in a divorce and is more likely to lose possession of the home both during and after the divorce proceedings. Furthermore, the family court is more likely to award temporary or permanent alimony to the abused spouse.
Child custody is always based on the best interests of the child or children involved. While all factors are relevant in making this determination, they are not all equal. Any history of domestic violence that occurs during a marriage is a very important factor for a judge to consider when awarding child custody and is almost always held against the abusive parent. Not only is a physically violent spouse less likely to get joint custody, it is quite possible that the violent spouse has severely reduced visitation time as well, if they get any form of visitation or custody at all. If any visitation time is ordered, severe restrictions may be imposed on the violent spouse.
Get Help From An Experienced Divorce Attorney
It cannot be stressed enough that no one should stay in an abusive relationship. If you have experienced domestic violence in your marriage, you should consult with a family law attorney in regards to planning your exit from the marriage. The experienced family law attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC in Mt. Pleasant, SC can help guide you through all of your divorce needs, whether it is seeking an order of protection for yourself and your family or getting the economic support that you may require from your future ex-spouse.
Contact our firm today to discuss your next step in obtaining a divorce.