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Is domestic violence against men on the rise in California?

In California and across the rest of the nation, many spouses struggle to sustain a marriage that is undermined by acts of domestic violence. While the traditional stereotype of such behavior is a woman abused by her husband, recent studies suggest that domestic violence against men is a significant problem in American society. When a divorce is on the horizon, issues of domestic violence must be handled very carefully in order to protect the rights and interests of the abused party.

The most important step is often the hardest for men and women alike: documenting the abuse. The police should be called whenever domestic violence is present. Having a series of police reports and other forms of evidence, such as photographs or witnesses, can make a significant difference if it becomes necessary to approach a judge to determine issues surrounding a divorce.

It may also be a good idea to have your partner seen by a therapist, if possible, which can help to uncover the source of the violent behavior. Counseling is also a good idea for the abused, but it may be a smart idea to see separate therapists if it appears that divorce is unavoidable. When children are involved, divorce attorneys may ask the court at the onset of the divorce process to have each parent undergo a child custody evaluation. That process can help identify any impact that the violence has had on the child or children involved.

While the topic of domestic violence against men may not be widely discussed or acknowledged, it is a real concern and one that the courts are equipped to deal with. However, in order to ask a judge to consider the violent behavior of a spouse in relation to divorce or child custody, it is imperative that the victim is able to document the abuse. Husbands and fathers in California who are facing a divorce should know that there are options to protect their interests, as well as those of any children involved in the split.

Source: The Huffington Post, "The Five Musts For Dealing With Domestic Violence In Your Divorce," Joseph E. Cordell, Oct. 10, 2012

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