Published on: September 19, 2017
Victims of domestic violence often feel helpless, trapped and alone. They may stay with an abuser due to of a lack of resources, issues of custody or fear of retribution if they leave. Enlisting the counsel of an experienced attorney who knows the ins and outs of the court system can help you break the cycle of violence and be an advocate for you and your family.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you are not alone. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetime.
A domestic violence attorney can assess your case and help you determine the best course of action to take. Before your consultation, sit down and write a list of things you’d like to discuss and questions to ask. If possible, it may also help to write down all incidences of violence, the circumstances and dates that they occurred. Be open and honest with your lawyer. Your attorney is there to advocate for you and needs to know the facts of the case to make strategic decisions, such as specific evidence to present or selecting witnesses to testify on your behalf.
A domestic violence attorney can help in many ways, including:
Get a temporary or permanent protective order in place. In Pennsylvania, victims of domestic violence can seek a protection from abuse order that may prohibit the abuser from making contact or coming within a certain distance of the victim. In certain situations, a protective order can also require that the abuser move out of a home shared with the victim. Each county has its own filing procedure, so having an attorney who is familiar with the local courts can be a lifesaver.
File a domestic violence lawsuit. Your lawyer can file a civil lawsuit that allows you to recover any medical expenses, financial loss, or pain and suffering caused by your abuser..
File for divorce. If the perpetrator is a spouse, a family law attorney can assist you through the divorce process, including seeking spousal support and receiving your share of marital assets.
Get custody of your children. If the abuser is also a parent of your children, an attorney can help you get custody as well as child support from the other parent.
Represent you in court. A domestic violence attorney will file required documents and be your advocate in court.
Communicate with the defendant (or his or her attorney). Your lawyer will also communicate and negotiate with the defendant throughout the legal process so you do not have to deal with any more abuse or conflict.
Suffering abuse at the hands of a loved one is a traumatic and life-changing experience. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys located in West Chester will be there to support you every step of the way, fight for your rights and help you protect your family.
If you or someone you love is a victim of domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).