Domestic Violence is a serious and prevalent issue that is all too common. It occurs when an individual makes threats of abuse or abuses another when they are in an intimate relationship. An intimate relationship is defined as married couples, domestic partners, people who are dating or used to date, have lived together or have a child together. This type of violence is more than just a family issue – it is a crime. One of every two families in the United States is involved in some form of domestic violence. A cycle of abuse is often created as victims or witnesses of domestic violence in childhood are more likely to repeat such acts when they are adults.
The laws governing domestic violence define abuse as physically hurting or trying to hurt someone, sexual assault, making someone reasonably afraid that they or someone else are about to be seriously hurt (like with a threat) or behavior such as stalking, threatening, destroying someone’s property or harassing them. As one might think, physical abuse is not limited to hitting someone. It includes kicking, pushing, pulling, restraining, shoving, throwing things or threatening family pets.
Nor is domestic abuse limited to only physical acts of violence. Abuse can be spoken, emotional or psychological. Abuse takes many forms and abusers often use a combination of tactics to control and intimidate the targeted individual.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you can seek assistance through the courts and the police. The police can issue you a temporary restraining order and can detain the abuser if appropriate. You can also seek a domestic violence restraining order from the court. The domestic violence restraining order is a court order that helps protect individuals from abuse or the threat of abuse if you have a close relationship with the abuser. If you are a parent, and your child is also being abused, you can file a restraining order that includes your child as a protected individual.
While you are not required to retain a lawyer to ask for a restraining order, it is a good idea to have an attorney on your side, especially if you have children. An attorney can help you tell your story effectively and clearly and assist you with the procedural process of requesting a restraining order. During a period where you are experiencing high amounts of stress, it is helpful to have an advocate on your side.
When someone requests a restraining order, they need to file court forms explaining what type or orders they are seeking and why. This requires no monetary fee. The judge will determine whether to grant the restraining order within a day. If the judge grants the request, the order is only temporary until the next court date. This allows the alleged abuser an opportunity to respond. At the court hearing, both parties shall appear and the judge will determine whether it is appropriate to continue or cancel the temporary restraining order.
The court process can be confusing and intimidating. Both parties will have to face each other in court and both will have to tell the judge details of what happened in a public courtroom. Having a lawyer can help make the process easier to handle. At Davies Wegner Law, we are experienced in guiding you through the process and supporting you every step of the way. And remember, our conversation is confidential. If you find yourself in a situation, such as the ones we have described, give us a call at 310-481-0300.