Spousal support can be a household's financial lifeblood. That financial safety net is, after all, the purpose of spousal support. The separated or divorced spouse generally gets support only with a showing of equitable grounds, including demonstrated need. Spousal support substitutes for a missing, underdeveloped, or compromised ability to earn one's own living. Yet when the one receiving spousal support has allegedly committed acts of domestic violence against the one paying support, the one receiving support could lose the support if convicted on the charges. Spousal support is indeed at risk when the one receiving support faces New Jersey domestic violence charges.
New Jersey Authority for Withholding Spousal Support
California was one of the first states presumptively banning by legislative act support payments to a party whose domestic violence has injured the payor. See California Family Code Section 4325. In 2014, New Jersey took a similar but less bold approach, amending its alimony statute. New Jersey's alimony statute now includes a provision that conviction for certain violent crimes can disqualify the defendant from receiving spousal support from the victim if the crime resulted in the victim's serious injury. Even if the party receiving support hasn't yet suffered a domestic violence conviction, but evidence of domestic violence exists, common law authority suggests that enforcing a spousal support agreement may be unconscionable after the one receiving the support has committed acts of domestic violence against the one paying the support. The premise is that support payments are, like violence, just another way of controlling the victim.
Defend Domestic Violence to Retain Spousal Support
Just because you face domestic violence accusations from the party paying support, though, doesn't mean you'll lose your support. Defense of New Jersey domestic violence charges is possible. If you successfully defend and defeat the accusations, you should instead retain the support. New Jersey domestic violence law adds a domestic violence enhancement to other New Jersey crimes. The prosecution must prove that you committed one or more of the underlying crimes within a qualifying domestic relationship. If the relationship is absent or you didn't commit the underlying crime, then you shouldn't suffer a domestic violence conviction. Without a conviction, you shouldn't lose spousal support. And by the way, if the spousal support isn't from the alleged domestic violence victim, the support shouldn't be at risk in any case. New Jersey's alimony statute and the law of unconscionability address payments from abuser to abused, not payments made by others who are not domestic violence victims.
Premier Defense Representation Available
Spousal support is a lifeline. Domestic violence charges can, in the worst outcome, cut off that lifeline. But accusations or even charges don't mean a conviction. Retain premier New Jersey criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team to turn back domestic violence allegations, defeat charges, and retain your spousal support. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now.
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