Does your friend have a restraining order or order of protection? Oh she definitely has grounds for divorce based on battery and violence against her. She needs representation to protect her person and her rights. Can you take her to talk to a lawyer in person.? She really needs a friend right now. Great that she has you.
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Physical cruelty is a ground for divorce under 20-3-10(3) but your friend will need evidence and witnesses in order to prove it. She should talk to an attorney immediately about how to obtain and preserve evidence in a form that can be used in court. Divorce is about more than just living apart, however. Having grounds for divorce and whether the other party "contests" the divorce (or the divorce settlement) are two very different things. Property settlement, support obligations, and parenting arrangements must all be decided.
No matter what the basis for the divorce, if the parties agree and can enter into a comprehensive settlement agreement, then their divorce can be uncontested.
An "uncontested" divorce is when one party asks for the divorce and asks the court to approve their settlement agreement, and the party does not "contest" it. If they cannot agree on how to resolve the important issues to be decided, then they must ask the court to decide the issues for them. Whenever the parties cannot agree and ask the court to decide, then no matter what the grounds for divorce are, the case is not "uncontested."
Generally speaking, when a person is a bully, that's a sign that they're not too concerned about fairness. Since the odds of achieving a fair settlement may be reduced, an abused spouse may need to rely on a contested court action to get her fair due. It sounds as if your friend needs to consult an attorney ASAP to get help in learning her rights and helping her to start the court process that will be needed to achieve a fair divorce settlement. If there are continuing threats, she may also need an emergency order of protection.
If she does not have money for an attorney, she should contact Legal Aid, linked below.
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