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Taking Appropriate Measures to Defend Against Domestic Violence

There is never an excuse for domestic abuse. If abuse is a factor in the decision to end your marriage, you have unique issues to deal with in order to protect yourself and your family. Your first challenge is to ensure the personal safety and security of yourself and your children.

At MacDowell Law Group, P.C., our attorneys can explain the process of obtaining and enforcing a protective order. This can help provide the breathing space you need for making sound decisions over the long term.

Examples of Domestic Violence

For most people, the phrase “domestic violence” likely brings to mind acts of physical violence directed toward spouses, domestic partners or children. While physical violence certainly meets the definition, there are a number of other acts that may be considered domestic abuse as well, including:

  • Burglary and criminal trespass
  • Child neglect
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Kidnapping
  • Psychological abuse
  • Sexual assault and rape
  • Sexual child abuse
  • Spousal sexual violence
  • Unlawful imprisonment
  • Stalking and harassment

Any history of family abuse or violence between domestic partners is a factor in determining child custody and visitation, as well as other divorce matters. Our attorneys understand how to use this evidence to help ensure that you and your family members are not punished for the acts of a violent partner.

Important Information About Protective Orders

When evidence of abusive behavior on the part of a parent, spouse or domestic partner is clearly established, a protective order may be issued to prohibit further acts of family abuse. An emergency protective order, which can last up to three days, can be issued without the abuser being present. A preliminary protective order, which can last for up to 15 days, may also be issued without the abuser being present, and can bar the abuser from access to a shared residence with the victim, prohibit the use of a jointly owned vehicle, and bar contact with the victim and his or her family members.

Upon notice to the abuser and following a hearing, a permanent protective order may be issued, which can last up to two years. In addition to the above protections, this order can also call for temporary child custody and child support, provide for suitable alternative housing for the victim and any children and require the abuser to obtain counseling. If a protective order is violated, it is a criminal matter, and the abuser may be charged and sentenced to jail. Our lawyers can explain more about how a protective order can shield you from an abuser.

Do You Need to Speak to a Virginia Divorce Attorney?

If you are considering divorce, you need to speak with an experienced Virginia divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Fairfax, Virginia, law office at 703.277.2811 to schedule your free consultation. We help clients throughout Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia and look forward to helping you.