Domestic violence is an epidemic not only affecting couples in the United States but around the world. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 women will be victims of severe domestic abuse by an intimate partner at some point in their life. For men, the odds are slightly better at 1 in 7. A report from the World Health Organization also told us that a man or woman that is exposed to domestic violence as a child is 3-4 times more likely to abuse their partner. The most alarming statistic comes from a survey from Domestic Violence Statistics that stated: “a woman is beaten every nine seconds in the U.S.” If you are a victim of domestic violence, you should alert authorities then try to have a restraining order granted. Once you are away from the situation and safe, you can proceed by inquiring about a divorce and check out if a civil suit is applicable in your scenario.
Is a Divorce Necessary?
A divorce is likely necessary to enforce any kind of damage award in a civil suit. This is because in the court of law, a married couple’s assets are considered joint-property. Technically, the court cannot make a jury decide a verdict that “takes” money from one spouse and “gives it to the other.
You do not have to finalize a divorce before filing a civil lawsuit. If you file for a civil lawsuit during the divorce process, the damages you are owed will be factored into the reward of the divorce. In an ordinary divorce, the assets will most likely be split 50/50. For example, if a couple is determined to be with 500,000, they would split the money $250,000 – $250,000 even. If the wife is suing for domestic violence and is awarded $75,000, the new split would be $325,000 to the wife and $175,000 to the husband.
Types of Civil Claims
The victim of domestic violence has three types of claims that they can file against the abuser: assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In theory, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress do not have to involve physical contact. Battery, on the other hand, is only involved when there is physical contact involved.
If the abuse is physical, the reward will be determined by the severity of the abuse. Even if there are less severe damages, such as bruises, or no physical harm at all, the victim of domestic abuse can still sue for emotional pain and suffering. Many of the domestic abuse cases that have been recorded are not only for one instance of domestic abuse, they are usually built up with numerous occurrences over months or sometimes even years. The damages being sued for do not have to be for just a single reported case, if the victim had been abused by the same abuser more than once over a period of time, there can be a cumulative effect on damages.
When creating a case for emotional pain and suffering, an expert witness may be necessary. An expert witness could be a psychiatrist, psychologist,or any other mental health physician. The expert witness will give a testimony on the victim’s behalf that solidifies the claim of the abusee stating that the mental health issue the victim incurred is a direct result of the abuse suffered. The most common mental health issue that is associated with domestic abuse is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can affect victims for a lifetime and it is required that a medical professional supplies the court with proof of the disorder and testifies on the victim’s behalf.
Domestic violence between partners is a growing epidemic throughout this country and the rest of the world. Many think that domestic abuse can only affect women, but it can also affect men. It is important to continue increasing the awareness of this crime that is committed not only by ordinary people but by athletes and celebrities as well.