In some situations, divorce can be handled without attorneys by individuals who agree on all the terms of their divorce ahead of time. In others, former spouses and their attorneys can work with a neutral third party as a mediator to arrive at a mutually beneficial series of compromises during divorce.
In cases where there were issues with domestic abuse, however, agreement and mediation rarely produce the kind of results people need. If you are about to file for divorce and either you or your children were victims of domestic abuse, you should speak with an experienced California divorce attorney.
The sooner you speak with an experienced lawyer, the sooner you can take steps to protect yourself and your children during the divorce proceedings. Those who take steps to leave their abusers are often the most at risk. Abused partners run the highest risk of murder by their former partner at the time when they leave or within two years of the end of the relationship.
Your attorney can help protect you and your children legally while offering advice on how to protect yourselves practically as well. From protective orders to supervised visitation, there are many options available.
An attorney can help you prove domestic violence
Until you've committed yourself to leaving the relationship, it is very common for victims of abuse to protect their abuser. They may refuse to provide a statement to law enforcement or seek medical help in order to protect the person abusing them.
This compassion for their abuser or desire to avoid future conflict can result in difficulty proving allegation of abuse when divorce becomes the best option. Your attorney can help document any ongoing abuse in a manner that will support your case during divorce proceedings. It may require involving law enforcement for your own safety.
Whether you only need copies of your medical records which show years of injuries or you need to start creating a record of the abuse, your attorney can help. Unless there are records of abusive incidents or injuries, the court will basically be weighing the word of the victim against the word of the abuser.
It can be very hard to convince the courts of the need for a protective order with only one person's word to substantiate it. Your attorney will understand how difficult and complex of a topic domestic abuse can be and will explore all of your options for recourse.
An attorney's advice can be invaluable if you are seeking a protective order or a divorce due to domestic abuse. Legal advocacy can explain how claims of abuse may impact custody decisions, as well as how to take practical steps to reduce your risk when leaving an abuser. When you're trying to restart your life after an abusive marriage, you need all the support you can get.