October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in New Jersey and around the country, but the issue may be overshadowed by other causes like curing breast cancer. While that is of course a worthy endeavor, domestic violence is also a public health hazard. Statistics reveal that a woman is assaulted once every nine seconds while domestic violence hotlines in the United States get an average of 28,000 calls per day.
In some cases, physical, financial or emotional abuse may escalate during the divorce process. For instance, a spouse may be unable to find work because the other undermines his or her efforts to find gainful employment. Afterward, he or she may be placed on an allowance that is cut off once the intent to get a divorce is discovered.
Another example of abuse could be when a spouse obtains credit cards in the other spouse’s name, maxes them out and then defaults on the payments. The end result is a person with ruined credit and difficulty obtaining financial independence after the divorce. It is important to recognize that abuse can happen to anyone regardless of their age, economic status or social status. For those over 50, divorce may present additional challenges that may make it more difficult for an abuse victim to end a marriage.
If an individual is the victim of domestic abuse, it may influence the result of any effort to get a divorce. For instance, if the abuser and the victim had children together, the abuser may have his or her parental rights terminated. However, it is important to note that abuse does not guarantee any particular child custody ruling. Those going through a divorce may wish to talk with an attorney about their rights to help keep a child safe.