This article is the first in a multi-part series on women’s rights in divorce cases. While divorce laws are supposed to apply equally to both spouses, there are issues unique to women in divorce worth considering. It’s essential to have a competent attorney who represents women in divorces and understands their unique experiences in these situations. If you’re wondering, what are the rights of a wife in a divorce?, here are critical factors to weigh.
Divorces either proceed based on fault or so-called no-fault grounds. A divorce often starts when one spouse sues the other for such claims as adultery, domestic violence, or abandonment. No-fault divorces are based on a period of separation, like one year or six months, if you have a settlement agreement.
Adultery is when one spouse has sexual relations with someone other than their spouse during the marriage. Adultery can be especially problematic for women in divorce cases. Many women are stay-at-home parents with no income. If a husband can prove his wife committed adultery, it can be a barrier to her getting spousal support. This can be a huge challenge to moms who never worked during the marriage or who stopped working to raise children. The best approach is to hire an attorney experienced in defending adultery claims. Seek an attorney who understands the exceptions available to winning spousal support, even in cases that prove adultery. For example, a woman can get spousal support in a divorce case even if she committed adultery if it would be unjust to deny her such. This situation often happens when the wife has no income and has not worked for a while during the marriage.
Similarly, many women in divorce have claims against husbands who commit adultery. This also can be terrifying for a wife for many reasons. Stay-at-home moms divorcing cheating husbands must consider how much their lifestyle will change after dividing assets and living on the income from spousal support only. Getting a divorce because of adultery can also be difficult for working moms. Having an attorney experienced in adultery claims can help ease the stress of the situation and help get you the best result possible.
Another common fault claim for divorce is cruelty or domestic violence. Women experiencing abuse in their marriage have several rights in these situations. For example, a wife can seek a protective order (sometimes called a restraining order) to keep an abusive husband away from her and their children. Similarly, many states have laws that allow a wife to get a court order to kick the husband out of the marital home where there is domestic violence. A wife can also seek a larger share of the marital estate by proving abuse at a divorce trial.
Finally, when a husband abandons a wife in a marriage, she has the right to file her divorce lawsuit on those grounds. Sometimes abandonment is also called desertion of the marriage and means one spouse physically separates from the other and financially cuts off the other spouse. It’s not necessary in many cases to show the financial fallout to have abandonment as long as the physical separation happened and the deserting spouse intends the marriage to be over. Like adultery and domestic violence, proving abandonment can lead to the wife getting a better financial outcome in the divorce.
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We hope this content helps answer the question, what are the rights of a wife in a divorce. If you are facing a divorce and you think you have a claim for fault grounds in your divorce, contact WhitbeckBennett to see how we can help. Our attorneys have represented countless women in divorce cases, and we are here for you in yours.