What Impact Does Domestic Violence Have on Divorce Proceedings in New Jersey?

Domestic violence remains a significant issue in the United States, New Jersey not being an exception. The situation is quite bad in New Jersey. It is estimated that in New Jersey, 27.4% of men and 35.8% of women experience intimate partner violence, stalking, and/or rape in their lifetimes. Given these numbers, it is not a surprise that many marriages end in divorce. When there is a history of domestic violence, the divorce process can become complex and emotional for the divorcing parties. Domestic violence can have a significant impact on various aspects of the divorce proceedings. If you are seeking a divorce and there is a history of domestic violence, it is crucial that you understand how domestic violence can impact your divorce. In this article, we discuss the impact domestic violence can have on divorce proceedings in New Jersey.

Child Custody and Visitation

Allegations of domestic violence can significantly impact decisions regarding child custody and visitation arrangements. In New Jersey, courts consider the child’s best interests when making child custody and visitation decisions. The courts consider several factors when determining what is in the child’s best interests, including the history of domestic violence and the child’s safety. If a parent has a history of domestic violence, the court may limit or restrict that parent’s access to the child if they determine that they pose a risk to the child’s safety. The court may award the non-abusive parent sole custody and grant the abusive parent supervised visitation. In severe cases, the court may deny the abusive parent visitation.

Property Distribution

Generally, domestic violence does not impact property distribution in New Jersey. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, which means marital property is to be divided fairly between divorcing parties. When determining what constitutes an equitable distribution, courts consider several factors, including the marriage’s length, the parties’ ages, the standard of living established in the marriage, and the parties’ economic circumstances. Abuse is usually not considered. However, marital misconduct, such as domestic violence, could be considered if the behavior led to the reduction of the value of the marital property available for distribution. For example, if the abusive spouse damaged joint property during the marriage, their actions could impact property division. In such a case, the court may adjust the distribution of property to compensate the non-abusive spouse for the loss.


In New Jersey, alimony is awarded after the court considers several factors, including each spouse’s financial needs and abilities, each spouse’s earning capacities, the parties’ ages and health, and the standard of living established during the marriage. Marital misconduct, such as domestic violence, may also be considered if it had an economic impact on the victim, such as job loss or financial instability. In such a case, the abusive spouse may be ordered to pay alimony as a form of financial support.

As you can see, domestic violence can have a profound impact on divorce proceedings in New Jersey. It can impact child custody, visitation, property division, and alimony decisions.  

Contact a New Jersey Family Lawyer

If you are seeking a divorce and domestic violence is involved, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel. Contact our skilled New Jersey family attorneys at The Trabosh Law Firm to schedule a consultation. 

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