Family Law: Domestic Violence

The ending of a relationship may be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. The actions and reactions of the parties involved may precipitate angry feelings and it is sometimes necessary to obtain Court orders to protect against physical harm. The Court will issue orders where there is evidence of domestic violence, which is defined as: physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or sexual assault; or stalking, of family or household members by another past or present family or household member. Spousal abuse may be emotional rather than physical, such as withholding sleep, disturbances at work, continual spying on a spouse, harassing phone calls, and threats of physical force or confinement.

There are several ways that you can get protective orders. In the course of a divorce, it is typical to file restraining orders up front. This can include domestic violence protection orders. Separate and distinct from a divorce action, you can file a petitioner for domestic violence protection order. If there is not a domestic relationship, you can also file a petitioner for anti-harassment order.

There is no excuse for domestic violence. If it happens, call 911 immediately for assistance.

Many communities offer shelters for battered spouses and their children. Details on these shelters are available from the police, churches, family or conciliation courts, or local newspapers.