Family Violence is a horrible thing. Married people and couples generally are supposed to be in a relationship of trust and mutual protection. Certainly, adults have their differences and sometimes those differences lead to dissolution of the relationship, but neither the relationship nor its dissolution should ever include violence.
Family Violence is when your spouse or your "loved one" is:
- Hurting you;
- Threatening to hurt you;
- Hurting your loved ones;
- Threatening to hurt your loved ones;
- Destroying or damaging your property; or,
- Threatening to destroy or damage your property.
A victim of Family Violence presents herself/himself to the Court administrator who assists the victim in completing Family Violence paperwork for the Judge's review. Then, the victim is taken to see the Judge who will listen to the victim's recitation of the facts of Family Violence and will determine whether an Ex Parte (only the victim's side is present at this point) Order should be granted.
If an Ex Parte Family Violence Order is granted, a hearing is set for approximately a week away when both parties should attend and present their side to the Judge. The Order is served on the other party who is then required to completely stay away from the victim unless and until the Court subsequently says otherwise.
At the combined hearing, the Judge listens to both sides' version of events and decides whether Family Violence has occurred. If the Judge decides it has occurred, the Judge will Order that the abusing party stay away from the victim for 12 months. The Judge may also award the home and require temporary support during the 12 months.
Family Violence is inexcusable and is treated as such by the Court. However, Family Violence must be proven. Unscrupulous parties and attorneys sometimes assert Family Violence in order to short cut the divorce process since the hearing happens so quickly and residence, custodial and support decisions are determined at that hearing. A good judge can ferret out whether Family Violence has actually occurred or whether the complaining party is just attempting to gain an advantage in a divorce action.
If you are the victim of Family Violence or if you have been accused of Family Violence, call us at (404) 761-1212 or (770) 964-2847 for a free consultation.