Tennessee Bureau of Investigation releases Family Violence Study

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation recently released its Family Violence Study for 2012. The study was based on offenses reported by police and other law enforcement agencies to the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System in 2012. Nearly 15 percent of all crimes reported were domestic in nature.

Tennessee family violence quick facts

The TBI's 2012 study reveals the following significant facts regarding domestic violence in Tennessee:

  • Females were nearly two times more likely than males to be victims of domestic violence.
  • Parents accounted for nearly 58 percent of all kidnapping/abduction offenses in 2012.
  • White offenders were documented 1.8 times more often than African-American domestic violence offenders.
  • Female parents were more than twice as likely to commit simple assault against their female children (68 percent) than male children (almost 32 percent).
  • More than 17 percent of family violence offenses involved drugs or alcohol by the offender; of these, the majority, 83 percent, involved using alcohol.

Domestic violence can impact asset division in a divorce

Marital misconduct which has no economic impact on the marriage cannot be considered in Tennessee in dividing property when the parties divorce. This does not mean, however, that fault which has a moral or social element can never be considered. Spousal abuse and other domestic violence which has an economic impact on the marriage can be considered by the court in asset division, so long as the court focuses solely on the economic effects.

The typical economic impacts of domestic violence include the abused spouse's medical expenses and lost earning capacity, and the offending spouse's loss of income due to imprisonment and his dissipation of marital assets in legal fees. The court can consider these economic effects and award the abused or innocent spouse a larger share of the marital estate.

Family violence relevant in child custody proceedings

Of course, evidence of domestic violence is often considered in child custody proceedings. A court may deny custody to a parent who has been convicted or accused of domestic violence, if it determines that the parent poses a danger to the child, or to the child's other parent.

If you have been a victim of domestic violence and are considering a divorce, you should contact an experienced Tennessee family law attorney who can provide competent and aggressive representation regarding the division of marital assets and the award of child custody and visitation.