When domestic violence has taken place in a couple's relationship, it can change the dynamics of divorce proceedings. Usually, when an allegation of domestic violence is made, the victim will seek from the court, and often be granted, a temporary restraining order. This temporary restraining order can order the alleged perpetrator to stay away from, and have absolutely no contact with, the victim, or, the temporary restraining order may require the alleged perpetrator to refrain from certain specified conduct, such as any physical contact with the victim or threatening the victim. A temporary restraining order directing that the perpetrator refrain from communicating with the victim means no phone calls, letters, emails, texts, in-person encounters, or any type of communication. This will also include any attempts to send messages to the victim via some third party.
Temporary restraining orders which order a perpetrator to stay away from the victim often pose complications with visitation of children as the two parents may not be in each other's physical presence to exchange children for purposes of visitation unless there is some exception or provision specifically set forth in the stay away order which allows for the two parties to be in each other's presence solely for the purpose of visitation exchanges. Because of the volatility of the situation and the possibility of false accusations being made, it is often wise to have a third party present at such times to witness the visitation exchanges.
After a full hearing, where both parties are present, if the court finds that the allegations made by the victim are founded, then the court will issue a permanent restraining order, which will often times simply continue the same terms and conditions of the temporary restraining order for a period of time, usually for one year.
Of course, if after a hearing a court finds the allegations of the victim to be founded, such a finding could impact the divorce. Specifically, such a finding would likely be a significant factor in the court's final decision on custody and visitation arrangements in the future. Indeed, it could actually result in the court ordering supervised visitation, meaning the perpetrator would have to visit his/her children only with a court approved third party present at all times. This may be a friend or relative of the victim, or a court approved agency which handles supervised visitations.
For more questions about how domestic violence allegations or charges could impact your divorce call Jane K. Cristal, P.C. today.