Divorce Not Always as Easy as it Should Be for Domestic Violence Victims
One would think that instances of domestic violence in marriage would make it relatively easy for the victim to get out of the abusive relationship. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, both in New York and beyond, as a recent article in The New York Times outlines in an article that tells the stories of several female victims.
Domestic violence survivors who seek a divorce have several major obstacles they must overcome:
- They must be able to afford a private attorney.
- If they cannot afford a private attorney, they must be able to manage the significant legal complexities of the state’s court system, which can make it almost impossible to represent themselves.
- The abused party must be able to track down their spouse to serve him or her divorce papers, except in rare cases, which often requires them to hire professional process servers.
And these are only the logistical challenges — many times victims are held back by their fear of their spouse’s reaction to the proposed divorce, and the possibility that news of it could result in even worse violence.
Even when a victim is able to find free legal services, the case could drag on for months or years. As the cases stretch out over time, the victim becomes more likely to give in on issues such as visitation or child support simply to end the legal nightmare.
Fortunately there are steps we can take to protect victims of domestic violence and help expedite their marriage processes. Attorneys can help their clients obtain temporary orders of protection (before they get permanent restraining orders) and emphasize to family court judges the serious safety hazard that exists in the victim staying with her spouse.