Domestic Violence and Abuse
Violence within the family (domestic violence) is much more common than many of us believe. Each year, domestic violence affects 3 to 4 million families. Not surprising, divorces often bring about an increase in such violence; fifty percent (50%) of serious assaults occurs at or after the point of separation or divorce. Tell your attorney if there has been any violence in your family. Together, you may determine that an injunction or protective order (TPO) is needed, to protect you or your children from future violence.
Many spouses will simply stay away if such an order has been issued. Even if your spouse will not obey the order, it will help the police to physically remove your spouse if you can show the order to them.
Injunctions and Protective Orders
Injunctions and protective orders are orders of the court that are issued to prevent harm pending future hearings. If you are afraid that your spouse will beat you, take your money out of the bank, or run off with your children, the court can enjoin or prohibit these things by issuing an injunction. In all cases other than irreconcilable differences, the court will issue a standard injunction when the case is filed. In other cases where other relief is requested such as removing someone from the home, the court may require a hearing before deciding on that relief.
Protective Order (TPO)
A protective order deals with domestic violence and is stronger than an injunction, but you need a more complex and expensive legal process to get a protective order. If you are under a protective order, any assault on your spouse is an aggravated assault, which is a serious criminal felony. You must obey protective orders and injunctions even if your spouse tells you it is all right to ignore the order. That spouse may be setting you up for a trap. You must obey the order until the court modifies or vacates the order.
Questions and Answers
What warning signs forecast a risk of violence in a relationship?
- Does your partner control who you see or what you do?
- Is your partner jealous and possessive?
- Does your partner threaten physical violence to control you, your friends, or your family?
- Does your partner pressure you to use drugs/alcohol?
- Does your partner shift responsibility for abusive behavior to you?
- Are you afraid to end the relationship?
- Are friends or family worried about you?
What is a safety plan?
Living with or leaving an abuser is downright dangerous. Sit down with your lawyer to work out a plan to protect you and your children, including emergency arrangements for safety; escape routes; fail-safe telephone service; access to car keys, money and important papers; and telephone numbers of victim services or a shelter.
What causes domestic violence?
Abusive behavior is chosen behavior used to gain power and control. It may be learned behavior from childhood and reinforced in other ways that involve cultural norms or oppression.