Scales Law Office
Located and practicing in Martinsburg and throughout Eastern West Virginia

Martinsburg West Virginia Family Law Blog

2 key pointers on divorcing an abusive spouse

Few life events are as emotionally draining as divorce. When one partner’s intentions become dark and threatening, they could end up blurring the lines between healthy aggression and physical and mental abuse. If you are going through the separation process and are receiving threats and or physical blows from your partner, it is important for you to take action to protect yourself and your children. Many children who witness one of their parents suffering abuse from the other develop behavioral issues and are more likely to become victims of abuse themselves in the future. 

Divorce that involves domestic abuse is often full of unique challenges that can create complications that put you and your kids at further risk of harm. Consider the following pointers to keep the situation from escalating further.

How your addiction and substance abuse may impact your divorce

Substance abuse and addiction can impact every aspect of your life, including your family. If you have a current or prior problem with substance use, this may be one contributing factor to your divorce.

Drug and alcohol problems may affect many aspects of your divorce, including child custody, spousal support and property division. Here is an explanation of how this issue may play a role in your split and what you can do about it.

3 ways to get through co-parenting during the holidays

Divorce is not something that couples always handle well. Tensions run high, especially when there are custody issues. The holidays are generally a happy time of the year, but for those in the midst of a divorce, it can make an already stressful situation worse. How can divorced or divorcing parents get through the holiday season with shared custody?

You may have a solid co-parenting plan and shared custody arrangement in place, or you may just be getting started with your divorce. In either case, it is a good idea to think about ways you can handle visitation throughout the holiday season.

Should a forensic accountant be on your legal team?

If you are half of a high net worth West Virginia couple facing the prospects of a divorce, you may have the nagging suspicion that your spouse is hiding assets from you so as to better position himself or herself in your upcoming property settlement negotiations. Greedy and/or vindictive spouses have been hiding assets for decades. What makes finding these assets so much more difficult and complicated nowadays is the many new ways available to do it.

You likely face a very challenging time, especially if your spouse chooses to hide marital assets electronically. You may wish to discuss with your attorney the possibility of hiring a forensic accountant to take on this highly complex job.

Can your ex be forced to take a higher-paying job?

Many high-paying jobs mean great salaries but may come with costs such as stress and time away from home - costs that offset the higher earnings in some ways. So, it makes sense that many spouses decide together that one of them will take a lower-paying job that allows for more work-life balance.

However, if you two are going through a divorce, and you have been a stay-at-home parent, you could be worried. Maintaining your standard of living and the children's standard of living afterward might be difficult, so can you request that your ex-spouse take on higher-paying work similar to the employment he or she quit a few years ago?

Can you block your children from seeing certain people?

When you are together as a couple with your children's other parent, you have a relatively large degree of control over the people your children are exposed to. However, after a divorce, or break up, it is typical for that control to decrease. It can be frustrating, as many parents new to this situation wonder if they can prevent their children from being in contact with certain people. Unfortunately, unless your ex agrees otherwise, the short answer is no, unless there is a significant risk of harm to the children from said exposure.

Why is this so? Shouldn't you, as a parent, have a right to say who your children should and should not be around? The answer is yes, but so does the other parent. For example, if your ex's mother is domineering, why can't you get a court order to block this woman from being around your children on your ex's time? Well, unless the children's grandmother presents some sort of potential danger or safety risk to the children, your ex is going to be able to decide who the children are going to be around on their time, just as you decide who the children are exposed to on your time.

Does a domestic violence accusation doom my child custody chance?

Domestic violence is a matter to be taken seriously. The statistics from NCADV are shocking; in West Virginia, domestic violence is connected to one-third of homicides. Of women who are killed, someone close to them committed the crime in about two-thirds of cases. As for male victims, about a quarter of men in the United States have been the target of a partner's violence.

So, it can be disheartening to be accused of domestic violence when you are going through a child custody battle. Even more frustrating is when the accusation is false, which happens more often than not. Judges have their work cut out for them trying to determine which accusations are real and which are not because the consequences can be so devastating.

Is college tuition a part of child support in West Virginia?

One of the most contentious parts of divorce is child support. Although there are formulas to follow in determining each parent's financial responsibilities to the child, they do not account for every possible circumstance. One such factor is college tuition.

With your child enrolled in post-secondary schooling, you may wonder who is going to continue to pay for higher education. Knowing West Virginia law on the matter can help you determine the answer.

Should you tell your divorcing spouse of a criminal charge?

You are in the middle of the divorce process and get charged with a crime. It could be DUI, assault or something else, but it is your first criminal charge.

One of your concerns may be whether you need to tell your soon-to-be ex-spouse. After all, you should be innocent until proven guilty, right? There is no right answer to the question of whether to tell your spouse, so always follow the advice of your attorney. You may have the same person representing you for your divorce and criminal charge, or your counsel may be separate people. The recommendations may differ depending on the situation.

Criminal records are public information and it is likely that your ex will find out eventually. If you withhold the information and it is pertinent to your divorce/custody case, the family court judge may look unfavorably on you in the future for not fully disclosing the facts during litigation. However, these decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis and you should always speak with your legal counsel before disclosing the charges to other parties, including your ex-spouse.

Determining if your spouse is hiding marital property

Fox Business News calls it financial infidelity and estimates that about six million Americans are hiding money from their significant other. It might be a secret financial account, a hidden credit card or a savings account that the other person is not aware of. People who are living together without the bonds of matrimony are more likely to hide money from the other person, but people who are married might consider it a red flag in the relationship. However, you do not want to jump to conclusions. A secret account could mean many different things:


Scales Law Office
314 West John Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401

Phone: 304-267-9090
Fax: 304-267-9035
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