Salt Lake County Domestic Violence Attorneys
Offering Compassionate Counsel & Legal Protection
For those with questions about domestic violence and divorce rights, domestic violence and child custody, or concerns about their safety, it is important to meet with a knowledgeable and trusted attorney. If you are facing this kind of sensitive and potentially dangerous situation, you can turn to Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC for legal guidance and protection.
What Is Domestic Violence?
While many people have specific images of what is considered domestic violence in their mind, the law defines it as the abuse of one partner by the other while the two are engaged in an intimate relationship, such as marriage. Domestic violence can also occur between dating partners, parents and children, siblings, and roommates.
Some types of domestic violence include:
- Physical assault, such as striking the other partner
- Shoving a partner
- Sexual assault (including rape)
- Stalking the partner
- Trying to isolate the partner from his or her family members or friends
- Emotional abuse
- Withholding money or hiding funds in an effort to control the other partner’s actions
Sometimes, when the violence reaches its worst point – such as in a life-threatening situation – one partner may decide to leave the relationship. It is important for those who are considering leaving an abusive relationship to think about their safety during this time. Some of the factors to consider when divorcing an abusive spouse include restraining orders related to the divorce and domestic violence.
Leaving an Abusive Relationship: Establishing an Emergency Order of Protection
Those who are in a violent relationship should prioritize the safety of themselves and their children. Domestic violence divorce rates and statistics demonstrate that one of the most dangerous points in the relationship is leaving. Therefore, if you are involved in an abuse relationship, you and your children need to find a location where the abusive partner cannot find you. Think about staying with a friend the abuser doesn’t know, a domestic violence shelter, or even a hotel.
If you have time to plan, some of the important things to think about include:
- Leaving clothing and other essentials with a friend to hide the packing
- Starting to document the examples of physical or emotional abuse
- Noting dates and times of important events
- Making a list of safe contacts
- Starting to stockpile cash when possible
Some of the important items that you should consider taking with you include:
- Credit cards
- A checkbook
- Social security cards
- Proof of income, such as W-2s
- Bank statements
- Proof of past abuse including statements, pictures, or even videos
It is vital to go to a court quickly to establish an emergency protection order. This order should state that the abuser needs to stay away from you and your children. The order should also give you custody of your children. Then, it is crucial to consider hiring a Salt Lake County domestic violence lawyer.
Domestic Violence in Child Custody Cases
Those who are leaving an abusive relationship also need to think about how this is going to affect their children. The emergency order of protection will keep the abuser away temporarily, but more permanent rulings are needed.
When the courts rule on child custody, they are going to rule in the best interests of the children. This means considering whether the home is safe. Judges in Utah will consider the presence of abuse and domestic violence charges when making their child custody decisions. It has been well-established that violence impacts children, that seeing violence negatively affects their upbringing, and that children who witness violence may accept it as normal. Therefore, this will likely influence both child custody and visitation decisions in domestic violence cases. Therefore, making a long-term plan for the children is a crucial part of all divorce proceedings.
Tips for Divorce Cases Involving Domestic Violence
Finally, there are also several other tips that you should remember if you are leaving an abusive relationship.
- Do not forget to document evidence of abuse to help establish a protective order with the help of a lawyer
- If you have experienced domestic violence and need help with a divorce or custody case, do not agree to attend mediation without first hiring an attorney to help you negotiate a settlement
- Even the simple threat of harm to children will lead to full custody being awarded to you
Most importantly, remember to ask for help from a trained legal professional. At Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC, we offer compassionate counsel to the victims of domestic violence. We are here to help you through this difficult and emotional situation.
Call (801) 515-4133 now to request a free consultation.