If you're going through the troubling effects of a violent relationship or marriage, staying safe and keeping your family together should be your number one priority. When you are married and have minor children involved, it's important that their needs are met first in the event of a crisis situation or turmoil. One of the first things you should you do is remove yourself from a violent or volatile situation. From there, once you have found a secure, temporary place to stay, contact a lawyer who will advise you on what steps to take next. Here are some important reasons to seek legal counsel.
Order Of Protection
If the police or law enforcement were involved with your situation because they were called out to assist, an automatic order of temporary protection is likely in place. A judge will have to decide whether to extend the order pending a hearing regarding the domestic case. An order of protection makes it so your spouse can't contact you or come in any physical contact with you for a specified period of time. This is to protect you from confrontation and a violent situation spiraling out of control. A protection order may also involve your children as well. Speaking to an attorney specializing in family law or divorce will allow you to make an informed decision.
The matter of custody takes priority when the parents are no longer co-parenting or living under the same roof. Depending on your situation, a judge will likely grant you temporary full custody if your spouse was violent and there is a protection order in place. Once a petition to the court has been initiated, the custody process can begin. It can be lengthy and complex as the judge decides on the best placement for your children.
Protection Of Assets
Seeking legal counsel is important if you and your spouse own a home, vehicle and other personal belongings. Securing these assets is important. If you are still in the home, you'll want to be able to feel safe but still maintain and sustain the household. Your lawyer will help establish a temporary order with the court for you to stay in the home. This may also include filing for child and spousal support. Your lawyer and your spouse's lawyer will both voice arguments and concerns with the court. A mediator may be utilized to help establish a compromise between both parties until a final agreement is made.
Your attorney will help determine if you qualify for spousal support. There are several determining factors including:
- The overall standard of living during the marriage
- Length of marriage
- The payer's ability to pay support and support himself or herself
- If one spouse has the physical and educational capabilities to join the workforce
Contacting a lawyer will help you make informed decisions on how to move forward with your life and get a fresh start.