Unfortunately, domestic violence is very much a reality in today’s society. In some cases, one instance of domestic violence is enough to end the marriage. For others, it takes repeated instances, but still often ends up in family court. In addition to the divorce, these proceeding will often also involve some type of protection order. If this is the case, it will obviously affect child visitation and custody.
Protect Yourself in a Violent Home
What can you do when you are in a violent household? What if you are unable to leave right away? How can you make sure you not only get out of the home, but also keep the abusive spouse away from the children, and you for that matter?
Document Everything – the more documentation you have to support your case, the better off you will be. If incidents have already happened, do your best to record the date, time, circumstances, etc… of every incident that has already occurred. Moving forward, keep track of every scream, push, and anything else that happens in the home to both you and your children.
Prepare to Safely Leave the Home – in these types of cases, you need to get out of the house as soon as possible, but you want to do it safely. In other words, make sure you have a safe place to go where you will be protected against your abusive spouse and that he or she will ideally not be able to find you. Also make sure you have enough funds, clothing, etc… so you do not have to return to the home for anything once you leave.
File for Legal Custody – if you have to leave suddenly, your first phone call after you get settled should be to your attorney to file for legal custody. Hopefully, you have already been in touch with your attorney and he or she is aware of what is going on and is ready to file the moment you leave. One of the main concerns of the court in any custody hearing is the welfare of the children, so the more documentation you have (as discussed above) the more likelihood you have of keeping your children away from your abusive spouse.
Spouse Visitation Rights – this may be a touchy subject, but you may not be able to keep your spouse away from the children if he or she has not abused them. However, since you were abused, the visitation will more than likely be observed, if it is granted at all. Your attorney will better be able to fill you in on the legalities and possible outcomes for your particular case.
Get legal help for your child custody issues by filling out the evaluation form now!