When Family Law and Criminal Law Collide – Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is something that happens all over the world and the nature of family dynamics and their interactions with the law is at best unfortunate. The reality of life is that it is not the case that people seeking legal advice about family law are doing so to sign off on adoption papers. And, unfortunately, there is a substantial crossover between family law and criminal law. This is sometimes centered around a divorce or due to systematic everyday domestic abuse in all its forms.

When Family Matters Become a Legal Issue

Divorce proceedingsdomestic-abuse can become frustrated by legal breaches that occur outside the marriage, particularly in the case of reclaiming the proceeds of crime that may also be disputed as part of the proceedings.

When family matters become legal matters, the underlying theme is complexity. Complexity on behalf of the accused revolves around how they were accused or whether they are being falsely accused.

Why You Should Consider Hiring a Family Solicitor

Complexity also involves victims who may normalize the way they are being treated and not even consider it a crime. Hence, the complications that so naturally arise around domestic abuse.

This is where the position of a family solicitor Portsmouth becomes extremely personal, and the primary role of communication is vital.

This means being able to translate the complexity of the situation into the legal round and communicating the dense and sometimes convoluted legal round back to their clients.

A Specialized Skillset & Field of Expertise is Needed

It requires a special skillset to handle legal matters like these. It does not only require a strong grasp of the law but one that has the breadth to encompass both family and criminal law.

The legal representative must have an appreciation of the real-life distress their client is under. This is especially true as domestic abuse-related offences have been recently updated to include controlling and coercive behaviour as an offence. Sentencing guidelines have also been updated to increase the severity of many domestic abuse charges.

When Family Law and Criminal Law Collide – Domestic Abuse | img domestic abuse 2

In the family legal sphere, there have been changes to all the rights of same-sex couples, which have been updated to match those of heterosexual couples. This includes the responsibilities of cohabiting parents or even co-parenting between individuals who are not in a relationship but share parental responsibilities and rights.

Greater legal complexity arises for legal teams surrounding family law when the events recalled differ. There are also added complications if there is an unseen balance of power in a family dynamic and, of course, if there are children involved.

This is quite different to the burden of proof that is used during criminal proceedings where things have to be shown beyond a reasonable doubt. When a case involves both family and criminal elements, it can result in mixed rulings. Therefore it could be enough for a judge to make a ruling about child custody but not enough to justify a custodial sentence.

When Family Law and Criminal Law Collide – Domestic Abuse | 85c852e21af3877cd6fa182b6b773f53 cropped optimized

If you do require this kind of legal support around family law, many law firms will happily arrange meetings very discreetly in their office or third party locations like workplaces. They can arrange to communicate with you via emails, telephone messages or encrypted phone apps rather than any letters to the house. If you are in immediate danger, you should contact the police or charities that can help with fleeing abusive relationships.


If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, there is a way out. Break the silence and seek legal assistance, especially where children are involved. We hope this article has been helpful and has answered some of the questions you might have had.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *