Domestic violence -- physical, sexual or even emotional abuse between family members -- is never acceptable. Unfortunately, it's still too common. Domestic violence is present throughout some marriages, but it can also appear for the first time after one spouse asks for a divorce. In fact, statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence show that 75% of calls for help to law enforcement and 50% of homicides committed by batterers come after a couple has separated. Women are statistically more likely to be victims, but men are not immune.
Domestic violence can severely complicate a divorce, because it creates an unequal power relationship and a legitimate fear of physical harm. The abused spouse may be afraid to even ask for the divorce. After separation, he or she may be forced to hide and have limited ability to perform the complicated practical, financial and legal tasks necessary in a divorce. And discussions about custody and other important matters can be tainted by the abused spouse's limited ability to stand up to the abuser.
Birmingham divorce attorney Steven D. Eversole can help. Our office represents abused spouses in all aspects of their divorces, including petitions for protection orders and enforcement proceedings whenever necessary. We also help people who are falsely accused of committing domestic violence during a divorce.
Ending an Abusive Marriage in Alabama
If you're trying to get out of an unhealthy relationship, it's important to tell your divorce attorney as soon as possible. Once the Eversole Law Offices know there's a strong chance of violence in your case, we can help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls of divorcing an abuser. For example, we can tell our clients when divorce papers will be served on their spouses, so they and any children can make sure to be in a safe place. If necessary, we can refer you to local groups that help victims.
Criminal charges and protection orders are a part of many divorces involving domestic violence. A protection order is a court order to an abuser to stay away from abused family members and stop hurting them. Violating a protection order is a misdemeanor in Alabama that may carry jail time; repeat offenders face a mandatory sentence of at least 30 days. We work to get abused clients a protection order as soon as possible and vigorously enforce it whenever necessary. We can also help with any related criminal charges against the abuser.
While the Eversole Law Offices normally recommends divorce mediation, it's not appropriate in abusive marriages. For these clients, a conventional courthouse divorce is the best way to make sure the abused spouse isn't bullied and gets a fair settlement. Fortunately, courts can and do consider misconduct during the marriage when awarding custody and dividing marital property; the abusive spouse is likely to get little, if any, child custody.
False Accusations of Domestic Violence
The Eversole Law Offices recognizes that not all domestic violence claims are true. During a divorce, some people level these accusations against their spouses out of anger or to get an advantage in custody or support negotiations. This is a big mistake on the accuser's part, because people caught lying to the court can end up losing custody or support altogether. If you're in this situation, we will vigorously defend you and your parental rights, introducing evidence to prove that you're a fit parent and that the other spouse is being dishonest.
Alabama Divorce and Spousal Abuse Attorney
If you're involved in a divorce with allegations of domestic abuse, you should call divorce lawyer Steven D. Eversole as soon as possible. Our office represents men and women seeking to dissolve a marriage in Jefferson, Madison and Shelby Counties and throughout Alabama. And we offer free, confidential consultations, so there's no risk in speaking to us about your legal options.
For a free evaluation of your domestic abuse in divorce case in Alabama, contact the Eversole Law Offices as soon as possible.