Each divorce case is unique. Some parties end their marriage well enough to settle amicably. Others, unfortunately, deal with tougher battles, such as domestic violence. And when a divorce involves abuse, the victim spouse may have difficulty going through the proceedings for fear that they will have to face their abuser again.
Available protection outside of divorce proceedings
New Jersey laws protect abused spouses and allow them to file a protection order against their abuser even before the divorce proceedings start. This includes temporary restraining orders (TRO) and final restraining orders (FRO). These orders prevent any contact between the parties. The same can also apply to children if the court finds that contact with the abuser threatens the child’s well-being.
Special measures in court
Once the divorce proceedings start, the court may consider the restraining order and apply special measures to protect the abused spouse and their well-being. This may include allowing the use of separate entrances and waiting rooms for each party and using screens to prevent parties from seeing each other.
Moreover, the court will likely not allow any alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation. Private settlement may not be effective when there is a history of domestic violence because the discussions may only be overtaken by a power imbalance, fear and threats.
It is understandable for domestic abuse victims to feel worried about attending court proceedings for fear of facing their abuser. Before going through the proceedings, it is essential to establish protection for the victim’s physical, mental and emotional safety. Knowing the available protection options can help somehow ease one’s burden and better prepare for divorce.