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Domestic Violence as a Factor in Distributing Property Upon Divorce (PDF Download Version)
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Product Details: Approx. 8 pages with 12 page glossary, PDF Format (Get Adobe Reader)
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A majority of courts do not consider the conduct of the parties during the marriage as a relevant factor in making an equitable distribution of marital or community property. In those states that do consider marital fault, either by virtue of a statutory provision or by judicial decision, there is a well-established trend toward giving some weight to acts of domestic violence during the marriage when distributing marital or community property. In most of those cases, spousal or child abuse is a relevant factor per se, although, as noted below, the abuse generally is not a one-time occurrence. In other cases, courts have required some additional proof, such as egregious misconduct or a causal connection between the abuse and the divorce. When the reviewing court is convinced that the alleged abuse occurred during the marriage, the court often awards a greater share of the marital or community property to the abused spouse than it otherwise would have done, or it arrives at an equitable award through some other means.

This Manual provides a summary of many cases in which courts considered either spousal or child abuse when making a distribution of marital or community property. The vast majority of the reported cases in which domestic violence was a factor in making a property division upon divorce involved claims of spousal abuse. These cases are discussed first. In a handful of cases, courts also gave weight to allegations of child abuse when making property distributions. These cases are discussed at the end of this Manual.

National Legal Research Group, Inc.


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