Divorce When Your Partner Has a History of Violence

Law Blog

Australia offers a no-fault divorce, and in many cases, the division of assets, any financial maintenance and child custody arrangements are determined via mediation, which is then submitted to the courts before being formalised. The process is not quite so smooth when domestic violence is an issue, and when this violence has been inflicted upon you, you might not necessarily agree with the no-fault classification. How should you proceed with divorce when your partner has a history of violence?

Avoiding Contact During Mediation

If you fear for your safety, you might make the choice to avoid face-to-face contact with your former partner. If you don't wish to be physically present during mediation, you can engage a lawyer to make the necessary negotiations on your behalf. When it comes to financial matters, the end result of mediation is still submitted to the courts, and you should never have to see your partner again. Naturally, if you still fear that you are to be victimised, you should take the appropriate action. Your lawyer can assist you with filing an injunction or apprehended violence order that will prohibit your former partner from contacting you. 

Notice of Risk

Zero contact with your former partner becomes problematic when you have children together. Domestic violence can certainly affect custody and visitation. You should consider consulting a domestic violence lawyer. A notice of risk form should be filed with the courts, which will then be used in determining the specifics of the parenting order, which covers custody and visitation. 

Determining Visitation

Your domestic violence lawyer will need to know the details of your partner's behaviour. This will then help with the drafting of the parenting order. Given your partner's history of violence, you might choose to apply for sole custody, with limited (or no) visitation awarded to your former partner. Any visitation can be supervised or can be structured so that you don't have to have any contact with your partner, meaning a third party will deliver your children to your former partner and collect them again. Visitation should only be considered when there is no risk to you or your children, and the presence of risk will vary depending on the particulars of your relationship with your former partner. Your safety and that of your children is paramount, which is why a specialised domestic violence lawyer can be helpful in these difficult circumstances.

Divorce is always a difficult time, and the horror of domestic violence can further complicate extracting yourself from the relationship, so it's helpful that you receive legal guidance.


15 July 2020

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My dad died when I was still pretty young so it's been a big surprise all the stuff I've had to do to sort out his estate. I'm an only child and my folks divorced when I was a baby so most of the work fell to me. He was kind of disorganised and grumpy, but at least he'd spoken to his lawyer and got a proper will drawn up which saved on confusion at a tricky time. If you are a young person dealing with the estate of a deceased parent, this blog is designed to help you navigate the legal processes.