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Domestic Violence FAQs
What should I do if my spouse is violent?
Call the police, if necessary, and when you are safe, contact the domestic violence relief agency in your county. They will give you advice and, if necessary, direct you to a safe shelter.
In many circumstances involving domestic violence it is possible to obtain a court order without the typical notice requirements. You may be able to obtain an order that will provide you with possession of the marital residence and automobile temporary custody of your children; the order may also provide that your spouse must stay away from you and the children. If your spouse violates such an order he or she will be arrested. Domestic violence orders are available in certain circumstances when your spouse, former spouse or a person of the opposite sex with whom you live attempts to cause bodily injury, or intentionally causes bodily injury or places you in fear of imminent serious bodily injury by the threat of force.
Is emotional support available?
Emotional support is available and absolutely essential to everyone involved in the dissolution of a marriage. There are numerous private mental health providers including psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, and other counselors. Many of these individuals are in private practice and others work for non-profit agencies and for the government. Many agencies will provide counseling at a fee based upon your income.
Can I just leave the house and not come back?
You can leave the house and not come back and you may take the children with you unless a court order directs you otherwise. It may be inadvisable for you to leave the house without talking to an attorney. Leaving the house without a good reason may effect your alimony situation. If you leave the house you may also be unable to return until after a court divides the property. This process will take considerable time and you may not end up with possession of the house after the property has been divided. The best advice is to stay in the house until after you discuss the matter with a lawyer unless your spouse is violent. If your spouse is violent you must take all steps necessary to protect your safety and the safety of your children.
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When a case is contested, the best interests of the child determine child custody. Between the mother and father, whether natural or adoptive, no presumption applies as to who will better promote the interest and welfare of the child. The court considers acts of domestic violence between the parties, the safety of the child, and the safety of either party from domestic violence by the other party.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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