It is never easy for victims of domestic violence to seek assistance. However, it is important for victims to understand that they are not alone and that assistance is available. Both experienced family law attorneys and several crisis services can help to ensure that victims are protected as they seek necessary assistance in removing themselves from abusive relationships.
Fortunately, an increasing amount of public awareness has drawn attention to these issues. Grassroots nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence have cropped up in recent years. On the legal side, certain statutes in Minnesota take domestic abuse seriously when utilized to the full extent. One such example is the 518B.01 Domestic Abuse Act.
How the Domestic Abuse Act Impacts Divorce
Minnesota law defines domestic abuse as "physical harm, bodily injury, or assault," threats, or even the infliction of fear that such aforementioned is imminent against a household or family member by another household or family member. These individuals include any combination of parents, children, persons related by blood, persons who are residing together, and persons involved in a sexual or romantic relationship. Domestic abuse holds a major impact on child custody in a divorce. While joint custody between both parents is the most common case, evidence of domestic violence can greatly alter the outcome of such.
The Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act allows a judge to rule on custody through thirteen principles according to the best interests of the child or children. These principles include the wishes of the parents, the children's reasonable preferences, the status of the immediate family relationships in the child's life, the mental and physical health of everyone involved, and the willingness of each parent to give the child affection, proper raising, and education. A judge in family law must weigh the impact of domestic violence in the family.
Domestic Violence and Divorce: A Real Battle Being Waged
Addressing and fighting back against domestic violence has revealed the silver lining to the issue, but much work is still to be done. If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic violence, don't suffer in silence. Look for a knowledgeable and compassionate divorce attorney, and reach out to one of Minnesota's community resources such as the Day One Domestic Violence Crisis Line.