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Domestic Violence and Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

Does arguing or fighting with my spouse hurt or help my divorce case?

Any person who is a victim of abuse committed by a spouse or family member can seek the protection of the courts pursuant to Chapter 50B of the North Carolina General Statutes. That Chapter of the statutes contains provisions that enable victims of domestic violence to obtain orders protecting them from an abusive individual.

Conflict, confrontation and, unfortunately, violence can damage and in some cases destroy hitherto healthy family relationships.

How does conflict affect divorce actions involving couples with no children?

When conflict rends a childless couple to the point that a marriage cannot be sustained, the issues that must be resolved before a divorce can be entered can oftentimes be difficult and complicated, and the difficulty and complication inherent in such cases are often compounded by the emotions that separations and divorces engender.

A husband and wife may disagree, for instance, on the nature, value and ownership of certain items of property acquired before or during a marriage. They may disagree on whether and to what extent alimony is owed by one spouse to another.

Even when the issues are contentious and the tension is so thick it can be cut, it is imperative that separated, separating and divorcing spouses keep the lines of communication open. In many cases, the point at which communication ends is, not surprisingly, the same point at which the smooth progress of a divorce case grinds to a halt and acrimony begins.

How does conflict affect divorce actions involving couples with children?

Of course, if a divorcing couple has a child or children, the issues that may divide the parties can be far more numerous and contentious. Unfortunately, oftentimes the children who are swept up in the divorces of their parents are very young. Divorces involving children must be approached with special care and consideration, since the parents—the divorcees—will most likely remain in contact long after their divorce, for the purpose of communicating about the health and welfare of their children.

Without a doubt, a divorce is a tumultuous and life-changing event. The acrimony that seems almost destined to arise in contested divorces, however, should be minimized to the extent possible whenever children are involved. Children, after all, are not directly involved in the divorce proceedings and are certainly not to blame for the separation of their parents. Despite that, they experience the brunt of ill feelings and, perhaps given their tender age, the divorce of their parents affects them even more profoundly than the actual parties to the divorce.

While every situation and every case has its own unique set of circumstances and challenges, divorcing parents must keep their children’s best interests in mind. Sometimes keeping the best interests of a child or children in mind conflicts with what a parent may see as being in his or her own best interests. As any parent knows, however, oftentimes what seems to be in one’s own best interest must be sacrificed for one’s child or children.

What can couples with children do to minimize the acrimony that occurs during divorce?

Lesson One: Do Not Disparage the Other Parent .
In most cases, children of divorcing parents love both parents and wish the divorce was not occurring or had not occurred. Disparaging one’s spouse or ex-spouse in front of one’s children—or allowing others to do so in the presence of one’s child or children—places the child or children in an awkward situation. Children may feel loyalty to both parents and may feel conflicted by an implicit or apparent request to choose a side in a battle between the two adults they care about most in the world.

Moreover, when a parent disparages a spouse or ex-spouse in front of the children, the disparager sends an implicit message to the child or children that is acceptable to disrespect the other parent.

Lesson Two: Respectful Communication between Parents is Essential.
After parents separate, issues involving their children will continue to arise, and parents must therefore learn to communicate effectively. The method of communication (in person, via telephone or e-mail, etc.) is less important than the tone of the communication. Parents must maintain a respectful tone when communicating with each other. The failure to communicate effectively will typically result in either (1) Courtroom litigation of motions based on issues that could have been resolved amicably through effective communication; and (2) Unpleasant confrontations at visitation exchanges.

In general, life is too short and too precious to spend constantly feuding with an ex-spouse. Effective communication will minimize the potential for long-term conflict.

Communication is the key to avoiding acrimony in divorce cases.
By its very nature, divorce and related actions can embroil the parties to an action in protracted legal conflict. When children are involved in a separation or divorce, parents should endeavor to shield and protect them from becoming enmeshed in the conflict. Moreover, parents must recognize the importance of effective communication with their spouses or ex-spouses. When parents fail to recognize the importance of communication or fail or refuse to work together towards goals that are in the best interests of their children, oftentimes it is the who children suffer the consequences of their parents’ hardheaded attitudes.

If you or someone you know has any questions regarding domestic violence, divorce or any related type of matter feel free to contact the experienced family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina. Call toll free at (955) 370-2828 or Contact Us Here.