If you or your children are victims of domestic violence, there are several legal options available to protect you. The first is a restraining order. To obtain a restraining order, you must file an application where you state what abuse you have suffered or why you are concerned for your safety. This is then presented to a judge for review. If the judge grants the restraining order, the aggressor must stay a certain distance away from you, and from the children if they are included in the restraining order. You are to carry a copy of the restraining order with you at all times, so that you can show it to a police officer if the aggressor violates the restraining order. The restraining order at this point will only be temporary. You will need to attend a hearing in front of a judge, where the aggressor can be present to defend himself. At that point, the judge can make the restraining order permanent.
If you have children, another option is a motion for emergency custody. For this, there must be a case in the courts, either divorce or custody. It is possible to start a case and file this at the same time. In this motion, you must show why the children are at risk if they spend time with the other parent. The decision will then be made by the judge as to whether to grant emergency custody. This will stay in place until the judge makes a permanent custody determination later in the case.
If you or a loved one needs assistance with legal protection, please call our family law firm – we may be able to get you the help you need.