Back to Learning Center


Specialty tag(s): High-Conflict Divorce

How Domestic Violence Impacts Family Law Cases

Lindsey Obenhaus | September 30, 2019

How Domestic Violence Impacts Family Law Cases- GoransonBain Ausley

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence affects 1 and in 3 women and 1 in 4 men according to the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Domestic violence can include physical violence or threats of violence between members of a family or household (codified as “family violence” under the law), as well as less-visible forms of abuse, like emotional, financial, and psychological abuse. Most of these cases will never be investigated by the police or be successfully prosecuted. However, when a survivor of an abusive relationship is considering or undergoing a divorce or child custody suit, the alleged abuse can have far-reaching effects in his or her family law case.


Safety planning is one of the first steps that a victim of domestic violence should take before leaving an abusive relationship. Safety planning is simply implementing a strategy to avoid dangerous situations and maximize physical and emotional well being during the time a victim chooses to leave the abusive relationship. Counselors and domestic violence advocates can be instrumental in working alongside attorneys when creating a safety plan. Victims of domestic violence can seek help from the Courts by applying for Temporary Ex Parte Protective Orders, Temporary Restraining Orders, and other temporary relief against their abusers.


Timing can often be of the essence when a partner is seeking to leave an abusive relationship. If family violence has occurred, Texas courts can provide expedited relief, such as entering emergency temporary orders, exercising emergency jurisdiction over children, and waiving the mandatory waiting period to grant a divorce.


The utmost priority in all family law matters is the best interest of the children. In a child custody suit, a finding of family violence by one parent against another rebuts the presumption that parents should be “joint managing conservators” of children. The court must consider, instead, granting sole managing conservatorship to the victim spouse, which gives that spouse almost exclusive decision-making rights regarding the children. Family violence can also be grounds to restrict or deny a parent’s access and visitation periods with their children. If a prior custody order has already been entered, a later finding of family violence can be grounds to modify the earlier order to protect the children’s safety.


Texas courts can award financial relief to victims of family violence during a divorce suit. The Court may find that a spouse is guilty of cruel treatment and award the victim spouse a greater share of the marital assets. Family violence is also grounds for a court to grant post-divorce spousal maintenance to a spouse even if the other statutory qualifications have not been met. Additionally, in some proceedings, a court may order attorney’s fees and court costs to be paid by a spouse who has committed family violence.

If you have a divorce or child custody matter involving domestic violence, the stakes are critically high. Be sure to discuss with your experienced family law attorney the best strategies to protect you and your children, both now and in the future.

Contact Lindsey Obenhaus at (214) 373-7676 to learn how we can help you.

Popular Family Law Articles

Is Spying on Someone IllegalWhat is Primary Physical CustodyTexas Audio Recording Laws
Divorce Laws in Texas with ChildDivorce Non U.S. Citizen with ChildIs a Limited Company Protected from Divorce
Does Adultery Affect Divorce in TexasHow is Community Property Divided in a DivorceFemale Divorce Lawyers Dallas
Divorce Texas CostTexas Spousal MaintenanceChild Support Cap
How to Pick a Good Divorce AttorneyTaxes and DivorceMediator vs Lawyer in Divorce

Services to Help Solve Your Challenges

Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of family law and will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you have the information you need to make wise decisions and prepare for the future.

Get in Touch

At Goranson Bain Ausley, we strive to deliver clarity about what comes next and confidence that you and your family’s future are more secure. Contact our team and discover how we can help you.

“A divorce or child custody case can be overwhelming, emotionally and financially. I help my clients minimize these negative effects, empowering them for a better future, whether in a courtroom or at a negotiation table.”

Request A Consultation


Curtis W. Harrison

Avoiding Christmas Custody Games

Goranson Bain Ausley Partner Curtis Harrison shares advice for parents navigating a divorce or child-custody modification during the Christmas season.


Angeline Lindley Bain

Confiding in Friends and Family During a Divorce

A critical decision that must be made early in the process of separating and divorcing is with whom to share…


Hayley Collins Blair

Child Support for Adults with Disabilities in Texas: Customized Support After 18

Attorney Hayley Collins Blair discusses customized child support for adult children with disabilities.


Beth E. Maultsby

High Conflict Divorces – What is the Cause?

GBA’s Beth Maultsby explains


Curtis W. Harrison

Divorcing a Sociopath

“I think I’m losing my mind.” Amy [1] , who as a very bright, sensitive wife and mother of two,…

Related Resources

Lets's Get Started

Pay Online



Fort Worth




Tarrant County