Sadly, many divorces contain a criminal element perpetuated by one of the spouses. Commonly issues are caused by drug use or domestic violence. The nature of the case will indicate the extent to which any criminal charges become part of a family law case like divorce. If there are minor children, that certainly is a factor as well as the nature of the activity. In some cases the activity is a major factor in a family law case and sometimes it is so insignificant that it is a non-factor.
Handling Criminal Charges and Divorce Proceedings
It can be common for potential or actual criminal charges to affect an otherwise standard divorce proceeding. Depending on the state you live in, a criminal case may be prosecuted in a different courtroom than family courts, but they still may make a significant impact. There are two ways that criminal charges impact a divorce case.
The first way is that one spouse is involved in criminal or drug activity, and the other spouse is not. One spouse may be a drug dealer or may be charged with insurance fraud. The court may prevent a parent who deals drugs from having any parenting time or may limit visitation drastically. A person that has committed insurance fraud may have issues with any financial recompense ordered by the court.
Domestic Violence as a Factor in Divorce Proceedings
The second instance of criminal activity affecting a divorce proceeding is if one spouse was the victim of a criminal act by the other spouse. Most commonly, this is usually an example of domestic violence, though other types do exist. In the past, experts believed that violence between spouses did not extend to the children, so the children were not experiencing abuse like the other spouse was. However, today the tides are changing. Often the discussion of domestic violence has been contextualized around parenting time and decision-making ability in divorce proceedings. It surely weighs heavily on the court when discussing visitation and custody arrangements.
Domestic violence is so shockingly common that we hear stories about it every day. Sometimes we see couples splitting up, sometimes the perpetrator serves jail time. Often it can end in divorce, or it can result from filing for divorce. Needless to say, domestic violence can affect a divorce in many ways.
Hiring a Domestic Violence Lawyer
In legal matters, you should always be prepared. If you are concerned that you or your spouse has criminal charges that may affect your divorce, contact a divorce lawyer today. They can consult you about your unique situation and advise you on the potential changes you may expect in proceedings. Work with an experienced attorney such as the Domestic Violence Lawyer Salt Lake City UT locals turn to.
Thanks to authors at Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into Family and Criminal Defense Law.