Steps to take when Family isn’t warm anymore

Love is a beautiful thing but at times it can turn into a beast. When a man starts to beat his wife then it is time for the wife to leave the dangerous environment and solve things form a position of safety. You will also have to report the issue to legal authorities and also build your case.

Building Your Case: How to Document Abuse

If you are in an abusive relationship and are in the process of taking (or deciding to take) legal action against your abusive partner, documentation of your partner’s abusive behaviors can be an important component of your case.

It’s worth noting that each state has different laws about what evidence and documentation can be used in court. Speaking with a legal advocate in your state might better prepare you for your unique situation (our advocates at the Hotline can help locate a legal advocate near you). According to WomensLaw, in most states evidence can include (but is not limited to) the following:

Verbal testimony from you or your witnesses

Medical reports of injuries from the abuse

Pictures (dated) of any injuries

Police reports of when you or a witness called the police

Household objects torn or broken by the abuser

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Some abusive situations are so extreme that the wife has to leave the home immediately they get the chance and they should leave with their kids. The next thing after they leave is to head to the court and file for protective orders.

If You Have to Leave Quickly

If you have to leave your home quickly to get away from an abusive relationship, go to court immediately for a protective order that requires the abuser to stay away from you. If you have children, be sure the order gives you custody. Otherwise, you may be accused of kidnapping.

If you have the resources, it’s wise to hire a lawyer at this point. But don’t worry if you can’t afford to pay for legal assistance; there are many resources available to help you. If you go to a shelter, the staff should be able to help you find legal assistance quickly to file the necessary papers. Many courts have domestic violence resources, including restraining order packets with instructions, clinics with clerks who can help you with the paperwork, or judges who are available to sign restraining orders and custody orders on very short notice. In some places, you have access to the court 24 hours a day.

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The abusive spouse will want to see their children if you had any however this will not be easy. They need to meet certain standards since domestic violence is a serious problem that authorities believe poses a potential danger to the child.

Because domestic violence has been deemed a national problem, some states have begun to enact statutes creating “domestic violence presumptions”. The legal presumption is essentially that an abuser’s actions and future potential actions would be harmful to the child. Depending on your jurisdiction, the domestic violence presumption could result in no access or limited access to your child if your spouse proves you have engaged in a history of domestic violence. Once a presumption is established, it will affect child custody arrangements, regardless of the type of proceeding, (i.e. a divorce, a suit affecting a parent child relationship, or a suit for grand-parent access).

Even though your state’s laws may provide for a legal presumption against you, most will also include provisions to rebut the presumption. Rebutting the presumption means that you are allowed to present evidence showing what you have done to change a pattern of domestic violence and why you are no longer a threat to the safety or well-being of your child. This evidence can include:

  • Completion of an anger management course.
  • Completion of a batterer’s treatment course.
  • Completion of a drug/alcohol treatment program.
  • Negative test for drugs/alcohol.
  • Finding that custody with the parent with a DV history is in the best interest of the child.
  • Participation in a parenting education course.

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