Even under the best of circumstances, divorce is a highly stressful event that can last for months, if not a couple of years. Because of an allegation of domestic abuse, divorce turns into a possible criminal case that requires the services of a Texas licensed criminal defense attorney. If you are undergoing a divorce proceeding the involves an allegation of domestic abuse, you cannot afford to cut corners by working with an inexperienced lawyer.
At Capetillo Law Firm, criminal defense attorney Adam Capetillo understands how critical it is to act quickly when addressing the criminal allegations that surround divorce. Mr. Capetillo also knows how the pain caused by a domestic abuse allegation can negatively impact a divorce proceeding.
Allegations of domestic abuse should never be taken lightly. Working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer can make the difference between a divorce proceeding ending in a timely manner and a divorce case dragging on for months on end.
Divorce and Domestic Abuse in Texas
Texas operates on the “No-Fault” legal principle when it comes to resolving divorce cases. This means a spouse can file for a divorce, without first divulging the reason for seeking the legal marital split. However, if one of the spouses alleges domestic violence took place during a marriage, then Texas law allows the abuse to become a part of the legal record. Cruelty represents one of the grounds for divorce in Texas, and domestic abuse falls under the legal umbrella called cruelty.
What Happens to the Waiting Period?
After filing a petition for divorce, Texas law stipulates that both parties must wait for a period not exceeding 60 days for the process to culminate. After the waiting period, the judge presiding over the divorce case has the power to grant a settlement that both parties agree is a reasonable solution. If domestic abuse enters the legal picture during a divorce proceeding, then the judge has the power to waive the waiting period. Domestic violence typically becomes part of a divorce proceeding in Texas when one of the spouses has received a conviction for abusing the other spouse.
Child Custody and Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse against any family member can impact the outcome of a divorce that includes child custody and visitation decisions. If one spouse presents convincing evidence of domestic violence, the accused spouse faces the possibility of highly restricted child visitation rights. Judges pressing over family law matters such as divorce have the legal power to issue a possession order, which is a legal order used to protect spouses and children against mental and physical anguish caused by a spouse.
Facing Criminal Charges
A spouse facing a domestic abuse allegation might have to deal with several criminal charges that include assault, harassment, and trespassing. Assault is a common criminal charge filed in domestic abuse cases. If you face an assault charge allegedly committed against your spouse, you should act with a sense of urgency by contacting a highly rated criminal defense attorney.
How an Assault Charge Impacts a Divorce Proceeding
Misdemeanor assault represents a criminal charge that can lead to a penalty of up to one year in prison and a fine that cannot exceed $4,000. However, when the assault is part of a domestic abuse charge, the legal consequences are more severe.
Misdemeanor Assault: Domestic Violence
The first criminal charge of domestic assault is also considered a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, which results in a jail sentence not exceeding one year and a fine up to $4,000. A misdemeanor assault charge that includes domestic violence carries more legal ramifications. The spouse found guilty of a misdemeanor assault charge can never own a firearm. Also, a second conviction for domestic assault can trigger a prison sentence that lasts as long as 10 years.
Felony Assault: Domestic Violence
A court case involving domestic violence sometimes moves from a misdemeanor charge to a felony charge. This typically happens when a defendant is accused of domestic abuse two times within a 12-month period or a domestic violence charge includes an allegation of choking or strangulation. A third-degree felony charge is a serious matter that requires the immediate attention of a Texas license criminal defense lawyer.
Working with Adam Capetillo
Defending a client that faces domestic violence charges involves collecting medical records, reviewing police reports, and accessing electronic communications in the form of emails and text messages. It also requires a criminal defense attorney to devise a defense strategy that not only exonerates a client, nut also removes a charge of domestic abuse from a Texas divorce proceeding.
Here a few possible defenses for a client charged with domestic violence:
- Lack of evidence
- Witness or witnesses not credible
- Violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
If you are about to go through a divorce, and the divorce proceeding includes facing a charge of domestic violence, you should reach out to Texas licensed criminal defense lawyer Adam Capetillo to conduct a thorough review of your case. Schedule a free initial consultation with Adam Capetillo by calling our law firm at (346) 249-5544 or by submitting the contact form found on our website.