If a domestic violence victim in California files for divorce, it’s in their best interest to avoid contact with their estranged spouse as much as possible. Unfortunately, this is virtually impossible when both parties have children together. The victim will have to carefully navigate the situation so they can create a successful co-parenting plan.
How can you co-parent with an abusive spouse?
Unless they’ve also abused your children, it’s rare for a judge to give the other parent no child custody or visitation rights. You’ll probably have to figure out a parenting plan that you’ll submit to the judge for approval. Fortunately, you still have certain rights during this difficult time.
Domestic violence victims don’t have to meet their abusers face-to-face. Instead, you could meet separately with the mediator to talk about your options. The mediator would then have a separate session with your estranged spouse. You could also bring a loved one for support, although they won’t be able to speak for you or answer any questions.
Your divorce attorney might suggest ways that you and your estranged spouse could co-parent without interacting with each other. For example, you could drop off and pick up your child at an agreed-upon location without interacting with your former spouse directly. You might still need to interact with your former spouse on a limited basis, but you could use a third-party app instead of giving them your contact information.
How can you protect your rights during a divorce?
Victims of domestic violence don’t have a “normal” relationship with their estranged spouses. The court shouldn’t expect them to maintain daily interactions with their abuser. An attorney could help you abide by your state’s child custody laws without compromising your rights or forcing you to deal with your former abuser.