Anyone who doubts that domestic violence is a serious problem in this country is obviously unaware of statistics I recently came across from the federal government. Of all of the violent crimes committed in the United States, almost a quarter of them fall into the category of domestic violence. Someone in an abusive marriage who is thinking about filing for a divorce should take steps to protect against further violence caused by that decision.
Psychological, Emotional and Physical Abuse
Domestic violence is not restricted to physical abuse committed by one spouse against the other. It can also involve psychological or emotional abuse. California laws include the following forms of conduct as abuse:
- Hitting, kicking, pushing, or other forms of physical contact intended to hurt or injure another person
- Sexually assaulting another person
- Engaging in conduct that places the other person in fear of being injured. This could also include conduct that threatens someone other than a spouse
- Destroying personal property belonging to the other party
Protecting Yourself During a Divorce
Residents of Orange County who are in an abusive marriage and fear further abuse once their spouse finds out about the divorce should apply for a domestic violence restraining order. A DVRO is a court order issued by a civil court judge that prohibits further acts of domestic violence. It imposes legal consequences on an abusive spouse who violates.
There are three types of DVROs that courts issue:
- Emergency Protective Order: Police may ask a judge for an EPO at any time of the day or night. It is in force for up to seven days, and it is designed to immediately stop the violence until the victim can go to court.
- Temporary Restraining Order: A TRO could be the next step following an EPO. The victim can ask a judge to order the abusive spouse to refrain from further physical, verbal, or emotional abuse. It can also order the abuser to leave the marital home.
- Permanent Restraining Order: Before a TRO expires, the court will hold a hearing to decide if the evidence warrants a permanent restraining order that may last for up to three years.
- Criminal Protective Order: If criminal charges result from a domestic violence incident, the criminal court may issue a criminal protective order to protect the victim. These protective orders may last for up to three years.
Getting the Right Advice and Guidance
If you are currently involved in an abusive relationship and need advice or guidance, please contact our offices online or call (714) 841-1931. We can help you take the legal steps to get you to safety.