Domestic Violence in Arizona
There are several reasons why couples pursue a divorce, but one of the most emotionally trying is a history of abuse or neglect. If you are seeking a divorce on the grounds of domestic violence, we can help.
The laws in the state of Arizona are very clear on matters of domestic violence and divorce. When it comes to you and your children, safety is paramount. That is why we are offering you this guide on how to proceed with a divorce when your spouse poses a threat to your family.
Before delving into the divorce process, we recommend you procure an Order of Protection with the help of a judge. These restraining orders are free to file, and you may do so if you feel a threat of domestic violence. According to Arizona law, all of the following may qualify as domestic violence:
- Physical violence, such as kicking or hitting
- Using words or conduct in a threatening way
- Harassment, either by phone or in person
- Photographing, recording or watching without your consent
- Distribution of nude images of you or your child
- Unlawful imprisonment
- Criminal trespass
- Criminal damage
- Not obeying a court order
- Custodial interference
- Homicide, manslaughter, and murder
- Neglect, mistreatment or abandonment of an animal
- Preventing the use of a phone in an emergency
- Abuse of a defenseless adult or child
- Disorderly conduct
To successfully receive an order of protection, a judge must rule that domestic abuse has occurred and that you have a specific relationship with the abuser. While you may file this motion for free, it can be beneficial to have legal representation to work with the judge on your behalf, since your abuser can request a hearing once he or she is made aware of the order.
Divorce and Domestic Violence Charges
The state of Arizona generally is in favor of fair and equal rights for both parents when it comes to custodial matters in divorce, however, domestic violence counts as an extenuating circumstance that can preclude the spouse from being granted any kind of custody. In some cases, the other parent may request to have parental rights of the abusing spouse terminated altogether. To file a petition to sever parental rights, one of the following must be true:
- Chronic abuse or neglect of the child
- Parent is incapacitated because of chronic drug or substance abuse
- Neglect or abuse of other children residing in the household
- Parent has recently been convicted of a felony or incarcerated
- Parent fails to establish paternity
- History of sexual abuse
- Parent fails to make a reasonable effort
Once a parent’s rights have been terminated, he or she no longer has any legal responsibility for the child or children. This means that individual has no say in medical or educational decisions, nor must he or she be privy to the happenings in a child’s life.
Enlisting the Help of a Compassionate Arizona Attorney
If you are considering a divorce proceeding and are a victim of domestic abuse, you need a compassionate divorce lawyer on your side who can help you secure the outcome you are looking for. At the Law Offices of Gillespie, Shields, Durrant & Goldfarb, we have been working as Phoenix family lawyers for over three decades.
We have the knowledge and experience to help you file orders of protection and represent your interests in a divorce proceeding. Whether it is filing for sole custody or seeking to terminate the other parent’s rights, we will fight passionately to get you what you need to move on with your life safely. For an initial consultation or to start divorce proceedings, contact our team of experts today.