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Your Rights as a Victim of Domestic Violence

by Terry
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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can cause physical injuries, emotional and psychological trauma, and destroy family relationships. You need to search for the “best divorce lawyer near me” if you’re a victim of this violence and want to undertake a divorce. Divorce lawyers have the legal expertise and can guide you through the divorce proceedings and protect your rights. Here’s what you need to know if you’re a domestic violence victim:

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a crime committed between household members. This could be abuse between spouses, former spouses living in the same household, or unmarried parents of the same child. Crimes covered under the term domestic violence might include:

  • Physical attacks 
  • Verbal harassment and abuse 
  • Child abuse 
  • Threats 
  • Stalking 
  • Harassing phone calls 
  • Creating disturbances at your workplace 
  • Forced sexual relations 

These are convicted as Class D crimes if the abuser doesn’t have prior domestic abuse convictions. If they have prior convictions, the crimes fall under the Class C category, which can have heftier penalties and may include a longer prison sentence. 

Domestic violence cases can be handled in criminal, civil, or family courts. A criminal court listens to the criminal charges presented by the state against the abuser and may recommend prison time or penalties. This depends on the severity of the domestic crime. 

Civil courts address violations of protective orders and can grant victims monetary damages. Family courts listen to divorce cases and determine custody and visitation privileges if you have kids.

What Are Your Rights?

Federal and state laws grant domestic violence victims various rights to promote safety, including:

Right to Establish a Protective Order 

To establish a protective order, your lawyer should submit information showing that your spouse is a threat to you or your children before a judge. You need to be open with your attorney and explain instances your spouse has caused you harm so they can present convincing facts in court. 

Your attorney can file an emergency protective order if your spouse proves to be an immediate threat to you or your children. In this case, a judge can grant a temporary protective order. The order remains effective until the defendant participates in a hearing to determine whether you need a permanent protective order. 

After the hearing, the court may grant a protective order stipulating the following provisions if it finds the defendant guilty of abuse:

  • The defendant shouldn’t attack, threaten, or cause harm to the plaintiff or any minor in their household 
  • The defendant shouldn’t enter the plaintiff’s premises or visit them at work or school 
  • The defendant should avoid all physical interactions with the plaintiff 
  • The defendant shouldn’t own a firearm 

Depending on your situation, a judge may determine who gets custody of the children and the extent of visitation rights. They may divide properties between the parties and ask the defendant to seek professional counseling. 

Protective orders are governed by full faith and credit provisions. These provisions require law enforcement officers to enforce protective orders, regardless of the state they’re issued in. This means you can move to another jurisdiction within the US and not worry about your abuser threatening you. 

Right to Refuse Mediation 

Settling out of court may not be the best option for victims of domestic violence. Your abuser may bully you into giving up your legal assets or force you to give up on your kids’ custody. 

It’d be better to let your lawyer take your case to court. A judge can prevent further abuse and protect your children by granting you custody of them. 

Right to Be Notified of All Court Proceedings 

You have the right to get involved in all court proceedings that pertain to your case. These include guilty pleas, sentencing hearings, and parole proceedings. You can ask for separate waiting rooms if you’re concerned about your safety during the proceedings. 

Your lawyer may encourage you to speak during these sessions as your statement can impact a judge’s decision. If you decide to speak, be truthful, and don’t protect your abuser by hiding information. The more the court knows about your situation, the better it can protect you and your children from future harm. 

Look Up “Best Divorce Lawyer Near Me”

Looking for the “best divorce lawyer near me” can help you leave a toxic marriage. The right lawyer will explain your rights as a domestic violence victim to help keep you and your children safe. Your rights include the right to file a protective order claim, the right to refuse mediation during divorce, and the right to be involved in all court proceedings relating to your domestic violence case. Protect yourself and your loved ones by using the law against your abuser.

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