Family Law Attorney in Utah
Domestic Violence Specialized Representation Tailored to Your Goals

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.

Contact us at (801) 515-4133 for a case review to see how we can help. From our Draper office, we serve Salt Lake County and Utah County.

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
  • Intimidation
  • 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.

These include:

  • 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 consultation.


Real Clients. Real Results. 
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    Eric did an awesome job.

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    If it wasn't for Eric and Preston, I wouldn't have gotten custody of my 2 children.

Meet Our Team

Professional. Confident. Approachable.
  • Eric M. Swinyard Photo
    Eric M. Swinyard

    Founding Attorney

    Eric M. Swinyard is a divorce and family law attorney who serves clients throughout the State of Utah. Eric’s practice is primarily focused on providing personalized, high-quality legal services to individuals involved in divorces, paternity actions, adoptions, estate planning, and other family law matters. It’s incredibly easy to be taken advantage of during litigation, especially if you are unrepresented by legal counsel. Protect Your Rights You don’t want to be in a situation where you need ...
  • Ryan  Ficklin Photo
    Ryan Ficklin


    Ryan Ficklin is an associate attorney at Eric M. Swinyard & Associates, PLLC. Prior to practicing law in Utah, Ryan practiced family law in Southern California. In 2017, Ryan relocated back to his home state of Utah to focus on serving the people of Utah who need legal representation, particularly in the family law realm. Ryan graduated with honors from California’s Whittier Law School in May of 2015. While in law school, Ryan was a staff member for The Journal of Child and Family Advocacy. Ryan ...
  • Keith L. Johnson Photo
    Keith L. Johnson


    Keith joined Eric M. Swinyard & Associates in Fall 2020, bringing more than a decade of experience as a trial attorney in various types of legal cases. He has successfully guided hundreds of individuals through Utah’s court system. Keith previously worked at an established civil litigation firm in Salt Lake as well as a mid-sized regional law firm. He has substantive experience in a variety of practice areas and is now primarily devoted to serving individuals involved in family law cases. Keith ...
  • Mark  Hales Photo
    Mark Hales


    Mark Hales has over 17 years of legal experience in the areas of family, criminal, and civil law. He handles all types of domestic matters, including custody, divorce, child support, alimony, annulment, termination of parental rights, paternity, modifications, and adoptions. In addition, he defends clients charged with domestic violence and abuse, stalking, violations of protective orders, and other and criminal charges. Mark is a certified mediator for all legal matters and is also a certified ...
  • Justin  Stringfellow Photo
    Justin Stringfellow


    Justin Stringfellow has practiced family law in Utah for 20 years, bringing a wealth of experience to Eric Swinyard & Associates in areas such as divorce, custody, paternity, modifications, child support, and adoption proceedings. In the early years of his career, Justin appeared on an estimated 1,500 Protective Order matters. He is an expert in dealing with abuse and domestic violence components in family law matters. As such, he was distinguished by Utah's Domestic Violence Coalition. Justin ...
  • Eliza  Crespo Photo
    Eliza Crespo


    Eliza Crespo is an associate attorney at Eric Swinyard & Associates. Prior to joining the firm, Eliza practiced estate planning in Utah. Eliza offers a fresh set of eyes to difficult situations and is passionate about providing excellent and compassionate legal services to her clients. Through personal experience, she appreciates the impact of a listening ear and an effective advocate, especially during times of challenge or transition. Eliza obtained her bachelor’s degree and law degree from ...

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