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How Can I Get Divorced in Texas if My Spouse is Abusive?

Posted on in Divorce

Travis County Family Violence and Protective Order AttorneyThe unfortunate reality for many Texans who want to get a divorce is that fear of their spouse makes it feel impossible to leave an abusive relationship. Indeed, research has long supported the fact that victims of domestic violence are often at the most danger when they try to leave. 

Nobody should be trapped in a terrible marriage and forced to deal with domestic violence. This blog explores Texas’s special laws that are designed to protect victims and give them immediate and effective relief. If you are a victim of family violence in Texas and you hope to get divorced, there is hope. An experienced Texas divorce attorney can counsel you and help you explore your options. 

Protective Orders

Victims of domestic violence can file for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and other emergency protections to protect themselves and their children from their abuser. A protective order can prohibit abusers from coming within a certain distance of a person, their children, their home, or their workplace. Violating the restraining order carries serious penalties, including fines and jail time. Although a TRO is not a foolproof device, it can give spouses who need to leave time and space to strategize about their next steps. Under certain circumstances, a protective order can be continued indefinitely. 

Child Custody

If one parent has a history of physical or sexual abuse against their spouse or child, Texas law allows judges to restrict that parent’s access to their child. If a parent has abused a child in the previous two years, the law explicitly prohibits that parent from having custody. If judges decide that the child is not at risk of harm, they may allow visitation but they can require it to be supervised by a designated adult. 

Property Division

Although Texas is a community property state and generally splits assets 50/50, domestic violence can be a reason that courts decide to deviate from a 50/50 split. The court may find that the abuser was at fault, and award marital property disproportionately to the victim. 

Schedule a Confidential Meeting with an Austin Divorce Lawyer

If you want to get a divorce but have concerns about an abusive spouse, a Travis County divorce attorney with Powers and Kerr, PLLC may be able to help. We prioritize our clients’ safety and privacy and can work with you to create a divorce strategy before formally filing for divorce. Find out more about what we can do for you by calling our offices today at 512-610-6199




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