Marrying someone is an act of faith. Faith that you will treat each other with respect and love. However, when someone betrays that faith and behaves cruelly and abusively, that is a valid reason to leave them. If you have been treated cruelly and inhumanely by your spouse, then you have grounds for what is referred to as an inhumane treatment divorce. If you want to pursue a Fairfax inhumane treatment divorce, a knowledgeable divorce attorney can guide you through the process and will fight hard to protect your rights.
Examples of Inhumane Treatment That Lead to Divorce
While there is no set definition for inhumane treatment in the context of divorce, a party can plead cruelty but cruelty in the context of being a basis for divorce is largely limited to physical cruelty.
Cruelty claims that can lead to a Fairfax inhumane treatment divorce are oftentimes ones where there have been multiple occasions of physical abuse. It could be that there have been numerous situations in which one spouse has hit the other spouse or has done other various things that constitute physical battery of the complaining spouse. It is not often the case that one incident of physical cruelty will give rise to a cruelty-based divorce.
In making the determination that it is unsafe for two parties to continue living together, there does not necessarily have to be physical abuse that has occurred. The court can make such a determination if there are threats of physical harm, if one party tells the other party that they are going to kill them, or if the tone that exists between the party is so hostile and belligerent that is clear that the parties were at their boiling point and that some physical assault was imminent. Then the court can determine that the parties should not be living in the same household.
Requirements for Divorce on the Basis of Cruelty Claims
There has to be evidence not just alleged but corroborated independently of the parties of the alleged cruelty, which typically means physical cruelty The exception to this is if there is emotional or mental cruelty going on to the extent that the victim of it feels that they are in danger or manifest physical symptoms as a result of the ongoing emotional cruelty and that is proven not only based on the claims but also by independent evidence. Then that can also be sufficient to get a Fairfax inhumane treatment divorce.
Someone who is suffering because their spouse is destructively inflicting cruelty upon themselves would not have grounds for an inhumane treatment divorce. However, if the self-destructive spouse refuses to get help and is so far into it, it could potentially give rise to a constructive desertion claim.
Role of Threat in Context of Cruelty Treatment
A threat in and of itself is not necessarily grounds for a Fairfax inhumane treatment divorce, however, there are some limited exceptions to that. If a spouse is making threats to the other party and if the victim in that situation is so affected by it that symptoms are manifesting physically or even emotionally in a severe way, then the court can consider the cruelty-based divorce. But again, it is quite unusual to get a cruelty-based divorce when there has not actually been some physical assault, perhaps even on multiple occasions.
Difficult Claims to Prove in Court
As with many instances of domestic abuse, if there are no witnesses to it, it can be hard to prove that it occurred in the first place. In addition, Virginia requires that there be corroborating evidence of the grounds of divorce. If there has been domestic abuse and the victim can take pictures of their injury or things in the house that may have been broken, then that is a case where it might be a little easier to get the court to grant a cruelty-based divorce. However, if there has been abuse that has been going on and there is no way to prove it other than one spouse’s word against the other, that is the case where the court is likely not going to grant a divorce based on cruelty.
Mediation as an Alternative to Divorce
When the divorce is based on cruelty, mediation might not be as good an alternative to resolve the case that it is in many other cases. The reason for this is mediation typically should not be entered into by spouses when there is a history of domestic abuse. The dynamic that exists between the spouses is going to be in favor of the abuser.
In this a case, mediation does not typically play a helpful role. In an inhumane treatment divorce, they are going to likely be looking at litigation. By resolving the case in court and letting the judge decide, or arbitrating, there is a scenario where a person is put in the place of having to make the decision about the issues related to the divorce case.
How Fairfax Courts Treat Cruelty Claims
Fairfax courts treat cruelty claims in the same way as they would in any other claim for divorce. They look for the alleging party to present their evidence about the cruelty that has occurred and they expect that there be some independent corroborating evidence that comes from somebody who is not the spouse. But here again, even if cruelty is proven in the court, the court still does have at its discretion the option of granting the divorce based on their separation rather than cruelty.
Importance of a Lawyer
Experiencing cruelty and abuse from your spouse is a painful experience. No one deserves cruelty from someone that they love. If you decide to pursue a Fairfax inhumane treatment divorce, a skilled divorce lawyer can help. A local attorney will be familiar with the nuances of cruelty claims and can make a strong argument for you. Get in touch with a lawyer who will advocate for you, and make sure that your voice is heard.