Domestic violence in divorce: a guide

Domestic violence refers to physical, sexual or psychological violence and controlling behaviour in a marriage that is abusive. Studies have demonstrated that one in four women in the UK are abused by their partner with almost one in eight undergoing this ordeal annually. As for men, almost one in three men are abused by their spouse. These numbers may not reflect the whole picture, since not all abuses are reported to the police.

Being in an abusive relationship can make a person very vulnerable and affect their safety and well-being. Divorce is a way out, since domestic abuse is a reason for divorce under the ground of unreasonable behaviour. Men and women who are suffering in abusive marriages and want to put an end, should contact a divorce solicitor in London, such as Saracens Solicitors.

What are the grounds for divorce?

The 1973 Matrimonial Causes Act recognises five grounds for divorce – infidelity, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two year’s separation with consent and five year’s separation without consent. Violent behaviour, psychological abuse and manipulation are valid grounds for divorce under the unreasonable behaviour clause. Abuse does not necessarily have to be physical, since many men and women are the recipients of psychological abuse from their spouses in the form of verbal bullying, harassment, humiliation and degradation. Sexual violence is another ground for unreasonable behaviour, since sexual intercourse always has to be consensual between spouses.

How can a divorce solicitor in London help?

A divorce solicitor in London will help their client build a solid case for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. It is important to stick to facts, since this will enable a judge to reach an informed decision. Substantiated abuse can lead to one of the parents losing custody and/or visitation rights of their children in extreme cases.

Is there a time limit to file a divorce?

People who are interested in filing for divorce for domestic violence on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour, will have to do so within six months of the last incident. However, a petition for divorce due to domestic violence can be presented at any time and historical attacks can be used as evidence.