Domestic Violence Charges During a Divorce
If you have been accused of abusing your spouse or children during a divorce, you need a family law attorney who can defend you in court and fight to ensure these allegations do not damage your assertion for child custody. While the police should take domestic violence calls seriously, these allegations can be used by a spouse to harm your reputation and hurt your chances of gaining full or joint custody of the children. It is unfortunate, but during a contentious divorce, your spouse may try and manipulate the system against you.
Virginia Domestic Violence Laws
Under the Virginia Code Section 18.2-57.2, anyone who commits an assault or battery against a family or household member is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. An assault occurs when someone threatens another person, has the means of carrying that threat out, and the victim reasonably fears being hurt. No actual touching is required. Battery is the occurrence of actual touching, which may or may not result in a physical injury. You can be charged with assault or both battery and assault.
While domestic violence is a serious issue, it can often arise during misunderstanding and intense arguments. It does not take much for your spouse to claim family abuse and have you arrested. For instance, if your spouse claims you pushed him or her during an argument, you may be charged with a crime. You can also be charged with battery and convicted if you are accused of slapping your spouse or throwing something that came into contact with him or her.
Potential Consequences of Conviction
If you are convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor for family violence, you can be sentenced to jail for up to 12 months and fined up to $2,500. However, these are not the only serious consequences of a domestic violence conviction during a divorce. As a parent seeking custody of your children, a domestic violence charge could damage your chances of full or joint custody. You may be granted a reduced amount of visitation or supervised visitation.
Defending Against Abuse Allegations
If your spouse is accusing you of abuse, the best thing you can do is hire an experienced Leesburg criminal defense attorney. The legal team of Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC understands how domestic abuse charges affect your divorce and can handle both your criminal and family law cases. To defend against abuse allegations, your attorneys may seek to show that you did not come into physical contact with your spouse or children during the situation in question. They may also try to demonstrate to the court that no threats were issued and no one else involved could reasonably feared being hurt at the time. If there was a physical altercation started by your spouse, your attorneys will work to show the court that you acted in defense of yourself and your children. No matter how these accusations came about, your attorneys will review your case, defend your innocence, and strive to ensure you still receive custody of your children.