Our society is reluctant to talk about the fact that nearly one in ten men has experienced domestic violence in their lifetime, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Washington state, the no-fault divorce laws male victims of domestic violence the same way as they do females. While it will not directly impact the granting of a divorce or the outcome of the majority of the divorce terms, it will have other ramifications in your divorce case.
If you are a man seeking a divorce from an abusive spouse, you should know that you have every right to seek protection and safety from your situation. A Bellevue divorce attorney can help you seek immediate protection from your spouse before you begin the divorce proceedings.
Protecting Yourself Before Your Divorce
If you believe you are in imminent danger, you should first contact the Washington State Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-562-6025. The hotline is active seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or for immediate danger situations, you should call your local police station or 911. It is important to remember that you have a right to be safe and protected from harm from an abusive spouse, just as a female domestic violence victim would.
Once you are in a safe situation, you can begin seeking a Washington state divorce attorney who is familiar with cases of domestic violence. It is best to work with a lawyer who has handled similar cases to yours, as they can bring prior knowledge of how Washington family law judges treat instances of male victim domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Against Husbands Does Impact Divorce
Just as if a woman was the victim of domestic abuse, a male abuse victim will have his divorce case treated the same, even for verbal abuse. Because Washington state no-fault laws do not require any grounds for divorce to be presented, "irreconcilable differences" will be the only factor considered when granting your divorce.
Furthermore, misconduct such as domestic abuse is not supposed to factor into marital property distribution. However, there are always exceptions to the standards. For example, if an abused husband can prove that he is no longer able to work or has incurred substantial medical costs because of the abuse, asset division and spousal support agreements may be adjusted accordingly to accommodate those factors.
Some men tend to avoid bringing up spousal abuse against them because they are afraid they will look like liars, or it will somehow harm their case. When determining factors such as marital asset division, judges are to remain impartial, and the same goes for child custody.
A judge should examine what are the best options for the child, and if one spouse is abusive to the other regardless of gender, that may be an important factor in determining custody.
Don't Be Afraid to Speak Up
At The Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, we treat every victim of domestic violence the same - with compassion, care, and respect. Call 425-460-0550 or fill out this online contact form and schedule time to discuss your options.