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Leaving a violent marriage

Domestic violence is a common cause of divorce. To be granted a divorce in New Jersey, the spouse who filed for divorce must state a reason he or she is asking for the divorce. Examples of grounds for divorce include extreme cruelty, desertion, adultery and irreconcilable differences. A no-fault divorce may be granted if the parties have been separated for 18 consecutive months, and there is no chance for reconciliation.

When children are involved, the divorce process may be very difficult immediately after a separation, especially if the relationship was violent. University of Illinois researchers studied how domestic violence during a relationship affects co-parenting during the first year of a separation.

The researchers looked at two types of domestic violence: coercive controlling violence and situational couple violence. Coercive controlling violence was characterized by one partner using domestic violence to control the other one. Situational violence was characterized by arguments between partners that escalated into physically violent situations.

Researchers found that the women that had experienced coercive controlling violence were more likely to experience harassment after a separation than those in the other group. Couples that had experienced situational violence demonstrated a more consistent level of support and effective communication after separation. However, they still experienced more conflict than couples that had not experienced any violence during their relationship.

When couples divorce, they must resolve important issues regarding child custody and property division. A divorce lawyer may be able to help potential clients understand their legal options. When parents cannot get along well enough to communicate about how they will raise their children after a separation, joint custody may not be the best option. An experienced divorce attorney may be able to assist clients involved a custody dispute present arguments about why they should have primary custody of the children.

Source: Divorce Source, "New Jersey Divorce Laws"

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