Domestic violence is a severe problem faced by couples of different nationalities, gender, confession, and financial status. This is a terrible situation that could lead to irreversible consequences in the future. A person who is confronted with such in his/her family should understand that this is a serious threat to his/her life. Besides, Indiana legislation protects spouses who are victims of domestic violence, which gives her or him the right for specific bonuses in the process of divorce.
What is Domestic Violence?
Violence can affect any family member. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) defines violence as any kind of inappropriate behavior that aims to humiliate or insult a victim. Usually, the aggressor behaves in such a way to gain control over the victim or relationship. Domestic violence may manifest itself in the following:
- Sexual abuse or harassment.
- Physical violence, for example, beating (possibly also beating with other objects), striking or pushing.
- Insult or threat verbally.
- Persecution or victimization.
- Intimidation with weapons or other items that can cause physical harm to a person.
- The ban on leaving the house or physically keeping a spouse at home against his or her will.
- Retention spouse’s money.
Violence always has consequences. Depending on the severity of the deeds committed, the spouse who did the wrongful acts may be obliged to pay fines or even go to jail.
How does Domestic Violence affect divorce in Indiana?
Domestic violence is not a ground for divorce in Indiana; nevertheless, the fact of such actions can significantly affect the whole process. For example, depending on the severity of the acts committed, domestic violence may affect the resolution of such issues:
- Separation of family property (most of the property may go to the injured spouse).
- Division of custody of common minor children (a parent who has shown aggression can be deprived of parental rights).
- Alimony and their duration.
Also, the court may also prohibit the spouse-aggressor from approaching the victim. But to be able to accuse the spouse of violence in the courtroom, you must provide indisputable evidence. In this case, it makes sense to hire a good lawyer who will represent your interests in court and fight for you and your children’s safety.
How does Domestic Violence affect child custody in Indiana?
With a divorce in Indian, the courts are always governed by the best interests of the child. Therefore, the decision about custody is made, taking into account the fact of what is best suited for the child. When the court begins to consider the issue of custody, any parent must inform the judge about acts of occurred domestic violence. The parent who committed the wrongdoing may be limited in visiting hours, or the visits will be held exclusively under the supervision of observers to ensure the safety of the child. In this format, visits can take place between one and three years. In some cases, such a parent may be deprived of parental rights.
What to do about Domestic Violence?
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First of all, you need to call 911 or Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence 24-hour hotline at 800-332-7385, if acts of violence have been committed against you, your children, or if you suspect that this may happen.
If you have already been a victim of violence or your children and you think that this may happen again, then you have the right to receive a “Protection Order” signed by a judge who will protect you in the future. The order may prohibit the offender from performing the following actions, as well as impose specific duties on him:
- Prevent the abuser from threatening or committing acts of violence or stalking you or your family members.
- Prevent the abuser from contacting you, including phone calls or messaging.
- Prevent the abuser from approaching you or your family members or visiting places where you spend time.
- Evict the abuser from your common home.
- Forbid the abuser to own a firearm.
- When dividing the property, part of the property of the abuser will be transferred to ownership in favor of the victim.
- Prohibit the abuser to communicate with the child or cut the visiting hours.
To get a “Protection Order,” you need to fill in the “Petition for Order of Protection” and file it with the court. Next, the court will set a date for your hearing, which both spouses are required to attend. At the hearing, the judge will decide on the defense.
Indiana also has many community shelters that help victims of violence.
Domestic violence is a significant threat to life and health. This is something that obviously does not need to endure and what you should fight with. If you have faced with this situation, then try to ensure the safety for yourself and your children. In no case do not continue to live with a tyrant spouse, especially when it’s considered that the laws of the state of Indiana are on the side of the victim. Think about a good lawyer, or contact the rescue services or special centers that assist victims of domestic violence.