Divorce and Domestic Violence

Divorce Survival Kit — Divorce and Domestic Violence

If you are having an immediate problem with domestic violence, and your lawyer is doing nothing to assist you, fire him/her.

In cases of domestic violence, the Judge might be asked to issue a temporary restraining order from the protection of the spouse and/or children of the marriage. However, since most states are “no-fault” divorce states, the judge presiding over a matrimonial rarely concerns himself with “who did what to whom”, even in those states requiring one party to plead the “fault” of the other party.

In fact, there remains only five States in the United States which still require that the parties plead some type of fault in order to obtain a divorce.

Only in cases of extreme duress, such as one party’s physical attacks upon the children and/or spouse, is fault properly considered in determining the three main issues of the case. However, in a child custody action, fault is often considered insomuch as it bears on the mental state of the parent seeking custody. Fault may also be important where one party is seeking an award of alimony or “maintenance” as it is referred to by New York Statute.

Domestic violence or battered women’s syndrome should be noted carefully in your diary. If you are a male spouse, do not let pride keep you from writing down the cruel or inhuman things your spouse has done to you during the marriage, such as hitting, pushing, throwing things, punching you and otherwise physically harming you. This goes for the women in a divorce case as well.

If you are exposed to domestic violence:

  • Call 911, and ask to remove the endangering spouse.
  • Ask for a restraining Order. You can then also simultaneously exercise your right to file a family offense petition in the Family Court in the County where you reside. Pursuant to that petition you can wait at the Court, and on that very same day the Judge may take testimony or issue an exparte restraining order.
  • There are usually counselors or court clerks available in Family Court to discuss and help victims of domestic violence.
  • Always try to speak to an attorney. But if you can not afford one, go directly to the police or the family court.

Statistics support that New York State is not unlike the other States when it comes to domestic violence. While victims can and are male, people always think that only a woman can be abused. Almost forty percent of all females admitted for emergency treatment are there because they have been “battered” by someone. As for men, the statistics are very underreported, but it is safe to say that men are victims of domestic violence also. About 90% of all cases reported cases are women being abused by men, but that statistic is suspicious because often times men do not report the abuse because of pride. Do not be one of the thousand of people abused or who end up dead due to doing nothing about an abusive spouse or former relation. Do not be the guy that puts up with an abusive wife. Do not be the woman who is always fearful of being hit again. A person is more likely to be injured or killed by a family member or domestic partner than by any other person.

If you are being abused, do not wait to be seriously physically injured before taking legal action, as it only a matter of time before the behavior escalates. Domestic violence consists of any intentional unwanted contact by the abuser or an object of the abuser. You do not need “evidence” such as a bruise. If your partner’s contact is designed to annoy harass and alarm you and contact that ends up physically affecting you is domestic abuse and you should seek legal help immediately. Even biting, clawing, scratching or shoving is deemed abusive in the eyes of the law. Certainly the other extreme is using weapon against you or actually punching you. No amount of abuse is okay. You have the right to say “no” if you do not want to have sex with your husband or wife. You have the right to be safe!

What if I fear from my life?
If you are in imminent fear for your safety and that threat is real, then call the police, now is not the time to be shy or scared. When you get hit by a loved one you are usually shocked, so you forget the obvious. If a stranger hit you do not hesitate to call ” 911″ or the police. So do not hesitate if you get hurt in any way to seek outside help. The police will arrive and they will be obligated to file a Domestic Incident report or remove the offending party from the home, at least for that night. The police may also arrest the offending spouse. However, often times a spouse is so shocked that they forget that they have the option to call the police. By all means, call the police if you are being harmed, even if the abuser is your husband or domestic partner. Do not be home when or if the spouse is released from jail.

Many times people do not call the police because they are afraid that when the spouse is let out of jail they will be beaten up again. That is why you need to plan ahead for your safety. Make a list of people that you can call or stay with. If you are fearful that you may get abused by your husband or wife or if you have been in the habit of being abused you need to plan ahead to ensure that you have a safe place to go to if danger is imminent. Often times that means calling on a friend relative or even a woman’s shelter. The police or Family Court in your County have a list readily available as to where you and your children can go to seek refuge.

When you get hit by a loved one you are usually shocked. If a stranger hit you would dial 911. Often times a spouse is so shocked that they forget that they have the option to call the police. By all means, call the police if you are being harmed, even if the abuser or potential abuser is your husband or domestic partner.

You should seek legal advice from a New York State Divorce Lawyer or a New York family law attorney so they can help you get a Temporary Restraining Order or what is commonly referred to as an Order of Protection. The New York divorce lawyer can help you get a restraining order. There are several other things a divorce lawyer in New York can do for you, such as help you get financial support from your spouse. Abusive relationships are a vicious cycle. If the abuse happened once, it will happen again.

Once you are safe and out of harm’s way then seek a New York Divorce Lawyer. If you are in New York City then here is a partial list of some shelters you can go to until you have a chance to see a reputable New York Divorce lawyer or New York Family Law Lawyer.

NYC Women’s Shelter Intakes

  • Franklin, 1122 Franklin Avenue, Bronx
  • Jamaica Armory, 93-03 168th St., Jamaica, Queens
  • Brooklyn Women’s Shelter, 116 Williams Ave., Brooklyn


Equinox Domestic Violence Services
95 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12206
(518) 434-6135

Cornerstone Manor
45 Carlton Street
Buffalo, New York 14203
(716) 852-0761

Haven House
P.0. Box 451 Ellicott Station
Buffalo, New York 14205
(716) 884-6000

Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence
250 Fulton Ave. Mezz. West
Hempstead, NY 11550
(516) 572-0700

The Salvation Army of the Syracuse Area
677 South Salina Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
(315) 475-1688

Vera House
P. O. Box 365
Syracuse, NY 14309
(315) 468-3260 – 24-hour Crisis
and Support Line

Women In Need
115 West 31st Street
New York, NY 10001

Yonkers MHA (YWCA)
87 South Broadway
Yonkers, NY 10701
(914) 963-2752

National Domestic Violence Hotline for referrals and support: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY: 1-800-787-3224.

New York 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-942-6906 (English) or 1-800-942-6908 (Spanish).

  1. Introduction
  2. Divorce Law Information
  3. Filing Divorce Papers
  4. Divorce Judgment Pleadings, Divorce Complaint & Discovery
  5. This Is How Your Divorce Will Likely Proceed
  6. Divorces and Family Court
  7. Financial planning tax considerations
  8. What Can I Expect To Achieve In Court?
  9. Temporary Relief & Divorce Judgment
  10. Divorce and Domestic Violence
  11. What Should I Expect Out Of My First Meeting With A Divorce Attorney?
  12. Precautions With Regard To My Financial Situation?
  13. Financial Settlement And Fault
  14. Child Support & Custody
  15. Common Divorce Misconceptions & Equitable Distribution
  16. What Do I Do with My Life Now that I am on My Own?

Warning: The information contained herein is not intended to substitute for legal advice from your own retained lawyer in new york state. This article is merely informational in nature, and is based upon one attorney’s knowledge of the practice of family law, matrimonial law, domestic violence, child custody, child support and orders of protection.

Retain counsel before you do anything to affect your marital status and follow the advice of the lawyer you retain, not what is written herein.