Domestic abuse is a difficult area of the law to navigate. It involves both family and criminal courts, even though they are two distinct domains. When it comes to domestic abuse, the lines between family and criminal law are blurred, resulting in inconsistent orders and complicated litigation.
A victim of domestic abuse may be unsure of the best course of action to pursue, including consulting with a family law practitioner or a criminal prosecution. Understanding how domestic violence fits into both criminal and civil law can help victims and suspects prepare for what is to come.
Domestic Violence and Divorces
During a divorce, a couple that has never had a problem with domestic violence may suddenly become aggressive or violent. Divorces are a naturally tumultuous moment in a partnership, and they can bring up abusive or threatening behaviours that were previously undetected or unnoticed.
A spouse may become physically aggressive and strike, shove, or sexually abuse a partner out of rage or contempt. To acquire what they desire, such as particular possessions or custody of children, a spouse may harass, intimidate, or bully an intimate partner.
One spouse may falsely accuse the other of domestic abuse to get custody of the children. According to the courts, children will not be placed with a parent who is aggressive or abusive. In certain circumstances, instead of depending exclusively on a family law counsel for the defence, the defendant would need to employ a criminal defence attorney. In a divorce proceeding, the defendant risks losing custody if he or she does not hire an experienced counsel.
Criminal Court vs. Family Court
Many spouses wrongly assume that a domestic abuse case would be decided using the same laws and regulations by both family and criminal law courts. This could not be further from the truth. Each court has its own procedure for dealing with domestic abuse charges.
Domestic violence’s criminal ramifications in a divorce, custody battle or other family court order are not addressed by the family court system. By entrusting a domestic violence case to the family courts, the victim risks being vulnerable without a competent prosecutor.
The purpose of family court is to provide two people the opportunity to work out their disagreements in front of a third party who can make the ultimate judgment. Each party is essentially self-contained, with the state wielding minimal authority.
The criminal court uses the state’s vast powers against the defendant. This is beneficial to the victim but detrimental to the defendant. Because the criminal court considers the matter a public offence, the state can conduct investigations and prosecutions with or without the victim’s knowledge.