Gavel and Domestic Violence Law Book

Utah Attorney for Domestic Violence During Divorce

For those with questions about domestic violence and divorce rights, domestic violence and child custody, or simply concerns about their safety, it is important to meet with divorce lawyer in Utah. Contact the Law Offices of Eric Swinyard for a free case review to see how we can help.

What is Domestic Violence?

While many people have specific images of what is considered domestic violence in their mind, the law defines this as an abuse of one partner by the other while the two are engaged in an intimate relationship, such as marriage. Some of the types of domestic violence include:

  • Physical assault, such as striking the other partner
  • Shoving a partner
  • Sexual assault (including rape)
  • Stalking the partner
  • Intimidation
  • Trying to isolate the partner from his or her family members or friends
  • Emotional abuse
  • Withholding money or hiding funds in an effort to control the other partner’s actions

Sometimes, when the violence reaches its worst point (such as in a life-threatening situation), one partner may decide to leave the relationship. It is important for those who are considering leaving an abusive relationship to think about their safety during this time. Some of the factors to consider when divorcing an abusive spouse include restraining orders related to the divorce and domestic violence.

Leaving an Abusive Relationship: Establishing an Emergency Order of Protection

Those who are in a violent relationship should prioritize the safety of themselves and their children. The domestic violence divorce rates  and domestic violence statistics demonstrate that one of the most dangerous points in the relationship is leaving. Therefore, if you are involved in an abuse relationship, you and your children need to find a location where the abusive partner cannot find them. Think about staying with a friend that the abuser doesn’t know, a domestic violence shelter, or even a hotel. If you have time to plan, some of the important things to think about include:

  • Leaving clothing and other essentials with a friend to hide the packing
  • Starting to document the examples of physical or emotional abuse
  • Noting dates and times of important events
  • Making a list of safe contacts
  • Starting to stockpile cash when possible

Some of the important items that you should consider taking with you include:

  • Credit cards
  • A checkbook
  • Social security cards
  • Proofs of income, such as W-2s
  • Bank statements
  • Proof of past abuse including statements, pictures, or even videos

It is vital to go to a court quickly to establish an emergency protection order. This order should state that the abuser needs to stay away from you and your children. The order should also give you custody of your children. Then, it is crucial to consider hiring a Utah domestic violence lawyer.

Domestic Violence in Child Custody Cases

Those who are leaving an abusive relationship also need to think about how this is going to affect their children. The emergency order of protection will keep the abuser away temporarily, but more permanent rulings are needed. When the courts rule on child custody, they are going to rule in the best interests of the children. This means taking into account whether or not the home is safe. For those asking “how does domestic violence affect child custody?” The answer is that the impact is significant. In the majority of states, such as the domestic violence Utah code, the child custody and domestic violence laws state that the judges need to consider the presence of abuse and domestic violence charges when making their child custody decisions. It has been well-established that violence impacts children, seeing violence negatively affects their upbringing, and that children who witness violence may accept it as normal. Therefore, this will likely influence both child custody and visitation decisions in domestic violence cases. Therefore, making a long-term plan for the children is a crucial part of all divorce proceedings.

Tips for Divorce Cases Involving Domestic Violence: The Rights

Finally, there are also several other tips that you should remember if you are leaving an abusive relationship. This includes:

  • Do not forget to document evidence of abuse to help establish a protective order with the help of a lawyer
  • Do not agree to mediation in cases of divorce and domestic violence because this is meant for couples who can come to an agreement regarding their divorce settlement
  • Even the simple threat of harm to children will lead to full custody being awarded to you

Most importantly, remember to ask for help from a trained legal professional.

Resources for Domestic Violence in Utah

We can help you with the legal aspect of domestic violence during a divorce, and here are some other resources that may be useful to you during this time.

Utah Domestic Violence Hotline


National Domestic Violence Hotline


YWCA Salt Lake City

24hr crisis line & shelter

Call: 801-537-8600

Rape Recovery Center

Supportive services

24hr crisis line 801-467-7273

Safe Harbor

Shelter, supportive services, and advocacy

24-hour support line, 801-444-9161


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