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How a Domestic Violence Charge Can Affect Your Divorce

Even Allegations Can Negatively Impact Your Case

Being accused of domestic abuse can be terrifying. The courts rightfully take abuse allegations very seriously, and in Tennessee, domestic assault is a criminal offense. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may face misdemeanor or felony charges. If convicted, you may be subject to thousands in fines and a prison sentence. When going through a divorce, the repercussions of a domestic violence charge on your record can be devastating.

When it comes to domestic abuse allegations, it has been noted that people tend to be biased against the accused. Being accused of domestic violence or having a domestic violence arrest or conviction on your record can influence how the courts view you. This may significantly sway how your divorce case is resolved, and you may find that many matters are not settled in your favor.

Domestic Violence & Child Custody Matters

One of the largest impacts a domestic violence charge will have on your divorce is concerning child custody. This is especially the case if you are accused of domestic child abuse. The courts take allegations of child abuse very seriously and always put the child's safety first and foremost. They will not place a child with a parent who is deemed to pose a substantial risk of harm to the child.

Even if your domestic violence case does not directly involve your children, it can still be detrimental to your custody case. Having a criminal record with a violent crime arrest, charge, or conviction may cause the courts to question your ability to provide a safe environment. Out of an abundance of caution, the courts may see fit to limit your time with your children.

According to the Child Custody and Visitation chapter of the Tennessee Code, if there are allegations of abuse supported by a preponderance of evidence, the courts will consider this when making visitation and custody determinations. In addition to losing custody of your children, you may also lose visitation rights or be limited to supervised visitation. This can seriously inhibit your ability to be an effective parent and irreparably damage your relationship with your children.

Tennessee Domestic Violence Laws

According to the Tennessee Code, abuse is defined as inflicting or attempting to inflict physical injury on an adult or minor. Furthermore, intimidating or placing an adult or minor in fear of physical harm, restraint, or malicious damage to personal property is illegal. The definition of abuse also includes inflicting, attempting to inflict, or threatening bodily injury on any animal owned or kept by an adult or minor. For domestic abuse to have occurred, the incident must have happened between those with a domestic relationship.

Tennessee Code defines a domestic violence victim as someone related to the alleged assailant in any of the following ways:

  • Current or former spouse
  • Currently living with or have lived with the assailant
  • Current or former dating partner
  • Related through blood or by adoption
  • Related by marriage, currently or formerly

What to Do If You Are Facing Domestic Assault Charges

With such serious consequences, if you are accused of any domestic or child abuse, you should seek reliable legal representation as soon as possible. It does not matter if your domestic violence record is long in the past or the allegations have occurred since you filed for divorce. You need to work with an attorney who understands the consequences of these types of charges on divorce cases in Tennessee.

If you are going through a divorce and have a domestic violence conviction on your record, contact the skilled attorneys at Casey, Simmons & Bryant, PLLC. We are well-versed in Tennessee criminal and family codes, and we are prepared to use our knowledge and experience to help you with your divorce.

To learn more about preparing for the divorce process, read our blog on divorce mistakes to avoid.