How domestic violence can affect spousal support awards

Domestic violence can affect California families in many ways. It can cause lasting emotional and mental problems for the victims of the abuse. It can also affect children who may just see the domestic violence occur. People may know that it also can affect parts of divorce proceedings. Particularly, an accusation of domestic violence may prevent an abuser from having custody, it may limit their time with their children and also require any parenting time to be supervised.

Domestic violence can also affect spousal support. There are many factors that judges consider when determining the amount and duration of a spousal support award. Most of the factors revolve around a spouse’s ability to be self-supporting and the amount of time it will take to become self-supporting. However, one of the factors also considers whether domestic violence took place between the couple or between either spouse and the children.

Factors judges consider when domestic violence occurs

Specifically, a judge needs to analyze how domestic violence affects the victim’s ability to work and have the financial resources to meet their needs. Judges must consider:

  • Whether one spouse was found guilty of a domestic violence charge or entered a plea of nolo contendere (also known as “no contest”).
  • If there has been a protective order issued protecting one spouse from the other.
  • The emotional distress that the domestic violence causes the spouse seeking spousal support.
  • If there is a history of domestic violence by the spouse receiving spousal support against the spouse paying spousal support.
  • Whether there is a finding by a judge that domestic violence occurred during the time the divorce was pending.

Experienced attorneys understand how it can affect spousal maintenance as well as custody and parenting time and may be a useful resource.