Can a battered spouse get justice in an Arizona family court?

If you are in an abusive marriage and seeking to get out, you probably have justified concerns for your safety as well as your children's. You should know that Arizona courts have recognized that domestic abuse has been shown to have detrimental effects in the proper development of children. Arizona family courts take a dim view towards abuse occurring within a home and go to great lengths to shield children from its adverse effects.

Domestic violence is defined as the willful intimidation of an intimate partner against another. Typically, the manner in which the victim is an intimidated is through physical assault, battery, sexual assault or some other manner of abusive behavior. In most cases of domestic violence, the offender usually attempts to exert some form of dominance or control over his or her victims.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, 85 percent of all domestic violence victims are women. Approximately 1.3 million women are victimized by people with whom they share intimate relationships. It has been estimated that a child in Arizona witnesses an instance of domestic violence once every 44 minutes.

In an Arizona divorce, family courts are required to examine any factor that may affect the best interests of the children involved. Courts consider domestic violence that is occurring within the home as something completely contrary to any child's best interests. Therefore, courts are extremely reluctant to do anything that might continue to expose the child to the threat of domestic violence.

Courts are allowed to examine police reports, medical reports, records from the Department of Child Safety, records from violence shelters and many other documents that may indicate that domestic abuse has occurred during a couple's marriage.

As a victim of domestic violence, you should know that your Arizona family law attorney can assist you with two main objectives. First, ensuring that you end your marriage in a manner that will help to provide for your children in the future. Then, making sure that your abuser is denied the opportunity to continue victimizing your family.

Source: Arizona State Legislature, "25-403.03. Domestic violence and child abuse" accessed Jan. 16, 2015

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