Emotions can run high between family members or intimate partners. Sometimes, an argument can escalate, endangering the people present. Even the threat of physical violence in these circumstances can have devastating consequences for everyone involved.
Accusations of family violence are especially impactful in divorce and child custody cases. You need a capable family attorney on your side. A Marietta family violence lawyer can work to ensure you and your family are safe while protecting your rights.
Family violence has a specific meaning under family law. A criminal act must be directed toward a family member or intimate associate for the law to consider it an act of family violence. A family or household member could include:
A crime against someone who currently or formerly shared a home with the accused, such as a roommate or significant other, also could be considered family violence.
Actions can include battery and assault, damage to property, stalking, criminal trespass, threatening, and unlawful restraint. A Marietta attorney can review a specific situation and advise whether it meets the criteria to be considered family violence.
Someone who claims to have been the victim of family violence (petitioner) can apply for a protective order against the person who allegedly committed the act (respondent). In many cases, the court will issue a temporary order barring the respondent from contacting the petitioner and ordering them to stay away from the petitioner’s home and workplace. Violating the order is a criminal offense.
If the respondent and petitioner share a home, the respondent must stay somewhere else while the order is in effect. The respondent might lose the right to see their children and be ordered to pay child and spousal support immediately. Protective orders sometimes require the respondent to seek counseling.
The court does not always issue a temporary order, but it will hold a hearing within a few days of an arrest or qualifying incident on whether it should issue a permanent protective order. Engaging a Marietta family violence attorney to represent your interests and protect your rights at the hearing is wise.
Protective orders can be influential in divorce and child custody disputes. It is critical to inform your attorney if you have sought a protective order against the other party or if a protective order was issued against you.
The judge can weigh any proof of family violence against a parent when deciding how to allocate parenting time and decision-making responsibility. If the judge believes a child might be at risk when in a parent’s company, the court could order that a social worker or another responsible adult supervise visits between that parent and their children.
A history of family violence also could affect decisions regarding property division and alimony. Georgia law requires the judge to divide marital property fairly, but not necessarily equally. The judge might be inclined to provide more property to a spouse who has experienced family violence at the hands of the other spouse. Similarly, if family violence has an impact on a spouse’s ability to support themselves, the family court might be more likely to award alimony or extend the duration of spousal support.
Everyone deserves to feel safe in their home. When family violence is an issue, you may be unsure of where to turn.
A Marietta family violence lawyer can support you and defend your rights. Call our firm today to discuss your situation with a compassionate member of our team.