Domestic Violence Restraining Order and Divorce
Encinitas, CA – Domestic violence is a very serious issue and should always be handled with the utmost concern for the victim. When making the decision to divorce an abuser, the victim needs to know that their divorce attorney has the ability to seek orders protecting them from the abusive spouse.
Domestic violence includes any abusive act perpetrated on a family member. An abusive act can be anything from physical assault to harassing phone calls or emails. It is important to understand what domestic violence is in order to determine whether or not your case warrants a request for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.
“Unfortunately, domestic violence is much more prevalent than we may think,” says John Griffith, an Encinitas divorce attorney who works hard as a domestic violence victim advocate. “Making the decision to divorce the abuser is a huge step, but not an easy one. Attorneys experienced in helping domestic violence victims understand the very real fear that our clients face each day, and we work hard to advocate for their protection.”
One of the first steps to protecting a victim of domestic violence during a divorce proceeding is to file a Request for Temporary Restraining Order. This will order the abuser to avoid all contact with their victim, or face criminal charges. It will also serve to exclude the abuser from the marital residence immediately.
Restraining orders can ensure that the victim will not be harassed or intimidated by the abuser during the divorce proceedings. To qualify for a DVRO, certain requirements need to be met:
- The person you are seeking the DVRO against must have recently committed abuse as defined by the Domestic Violence Protection Act.
- There must be an intimate relationship with the person, such as marriage or cohabitation.
To obtain a restraining order, you must complete paperwork that will then be submitted for a judge to sign. Your divorce attorney can help you with this. The initial order will go into effect as soon as the judge signs it, and will last until the court date.
A court hearing will happen about three weeks after the judge signs the order. You must be present at this hearing, even if the person you have filed the restraining order against does not attend. At this time, you can request for the order to be extended for up to three years. The judge may also make decisions about child custody, visitation, child support, and expenses related to the violence you experienced, including attorney’s fees and counseling, at this time.
The decision of the court will be based upon the statements from your temporary restraining order, testimony in court, evidence such as photos of the abuse, and, if there are minor children involved, recommendations from Family Court Services.
The DVRO will be valid and enforced throughout the state of California, and if registered properly, can be valid in other states as well. Keep a copy of the order with you at all times, and report any violations to the police immediately. If the abuser tries to contact the victim, it is important for the victim to refuse all calls and visits. Violating a restraining order is a misdemeanor, and the abuser can be arrested. In addition to criminal charges, you can also file contempt chargers in civil court against the abuser.
It is important to remember that restraining orders are not automatically given, it is possible for a judge to deny a request. An experienced divorce attorney can help domestic violence victims obtain a restraining order, and help ensure the order is enforced.
If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, John Griffith is an experienced Encinitas attorney who can successfully advocate for you. He can file for a temporary restraining order and represent you in family court for emergency child custody orders, often within 48 hours. But most importantly, he will make the safety of your family his number one priority, and will help you ensure your legal protection from your abuser. Call for a free consultation today, 858-345-1720.
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