Domestic Violence and the Holidays

During the Holiday Season in family law disputes are on the rise — your office is probably in the thick of many at this time of year! 


I’m sure this comes as no surprise, because domestic violence is reported to spike by at least 20% during the holiday season. In large part, they say it’s due to alcohol consumption and financial stress. For families still living together, the additional time at home during the Season is another contributing factor. 


The situation is exacerbated if the property is listed for sale. There’s a lockbox dangling on the front door containing a key to the house, open houses allow for anyone off the street to peruse the inside and outside of the house, and random buyers are shown the property throughout the day — all day, every day. This dynamic can raise obvious concerns in a divorce situation where domestic violence is prevalent, because a violent spouse may have easier access to the house where a DV victim may not feel safe. 


Listing agents like myself who work within these dynamics must strike a balance between ensuring potential buyers have access to the property and, at the same time, taking necessary safety precautions for the parties involved. 


A listing agent can be in a precarious situation: We are frequently seen as a conduit for an out-spouse — who is equally a client and a titled owner of the home — to access the property. It is not uncommon for us to get requests to provide them access to their home for the purposes of retrieving their personal belongings, making repairs, inspecting the condition, or a whole host of other reasons. Sometimes there are domestic violence restraining orders in place, and other times there aren’t. 


Regardless, a listing agent must know what their duties are and what boundaries cannot be breached. Real estate school does not teach us how to handle domestic dispute situations between our clients, but we do cover it extensively in our training to become a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert (CDRE®).


Rest assured that as a CDRE®️, I have safety protocols in place to ensure my representation is equal and unbiased, yet does not place my clients in unsafe situations or cause others to violate their restraining orders. No matter the season, know that I am here to support divorcing families through their transition.

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Whether you are a First Time Home Buyer, First Time Investor, Seasoned Seller, Seasoned Investor or just need some Real Estate assistance, Megan is committed to helping in any way she can.

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