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The impact that family violence may have on divorce proceedings

Domestic abuse may be among the chief reasons why couples in San Antonio may choose to get a divorce. At the same time, some may cite that as the reason why they choose not to. Their fears may be that the abuse they have suffered will continue even after the dissolution of their marriages, particularly if they are forced to continue to interact with their abusers to raise their children. In either case, victims of spousal abuse (as well as accused abusers) should understand the implications that such actions may have on divorce proceedings.

Section 71.004 of the Texas Family Code defines “family violence” as the act of a family or household member against another member that is meant to cause any of the following results:

  •          Physical harm
  •          Bodily injury
  •          Assault
  •          Sexual assault

The threat of such actions may also be classified as family violence. Furthermore, any form of physical or mental abuse of a child as defined by Texas Law also satisfies this definition.

Typically, the court presumes that in cases involving child custody, it is in the children’s best interested that their parents be appointed as joint managing conservators. However, according to Texas Family Code Section 153.004, that assumption is abandoned when there is a proven history of family violence perpetrated by one of the parents. The court may even elect to bar a parent from having access to his or her children completely if a preponderance of evidence shows a pattern of family violence as having occurred within two years prior to a divorce petition being filed.

Parents who have been found guilty of family violence may regain access to their children provided such access occurs in a supervised setting and that they obtain proper treatment and abstain from the use of alcohol or controlled substances. 

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