According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 13 million Americans will become victims of domestic abuse each year. Domestic violence cases are always difficult ones for any family. The immediate pain and suffering are considerable, but there are also legal and financial considerations that weigh heavily on all parties. Certainly when there is domestic abuse in the home, it is not wise or safe for the couple to continue to reside within the same residence. Not only is the individual in a domestic violence situation at risk of additional violence, but also the long-term effects of post-traumatic stress. Our law firm must often step into these situations with a decisive plan for those within the household. When someone has been abused, the abuser cannot continue to reside in the house. Unfortunately, when one party leaves the home the bills aren’t magically cut in half, instead they are left in most cases to the abused partner. There are ways to get financial assistance during this period using legal techniques.
A pre-divorce separation agreement can require the partner no longer living in the home to provide temporary maintenance for a given period. This means heading into the courtroom. In a domestic violence (DV) case, the victim will be the “petitioner” in the case, and the alleged perpetrator of the abuse will be the “respondent”. The petitioner will provide a history of the relationship and the abuse to the court, including evidence, to establish the need for an order of protection that will remove the alleged abuser from the home. It is at this time that the petitioner may ask for emergency maintenance. If you require financial support, it will be at the DV hearing that you are able to make this request. The judge will listen to your various financial needs and resources of both parties before making a decision.
It is our job as family lawyers to help you in this regard and make the process as simple and as painless as possible. No one enjoys these types of situations, but they can be made less stressful with an experience attorney.