Hardly a month goes by without a case in the headlines that involves domestic violence. Whether it is the world-famous Oscar Pistorious killing his girlfriend or the arrest of Edward Furlong — the now-grown-up child actor from Terminator 2 — for domestic violence violations, there seems to be no end to these tragic stories.
The sad truth is that the headlines reflect reality. According to the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ACADV), more than 1.5 million women suffer from physical abuse by their husbands or boyfriends each year.
If you are the victim of domestic violence, there are number of organizations, such as the ACADV, that can help you. In addition, the court can try to protect you through the use of restraining orders, also called orders of protection. A family law attorney can help you protect yourself also.
An order of protection is a court order that compels someone to refrain from threatening or harming someone else. An initial order of protection can be obtained unilaterally, without notice to the person who is accused of abusing or threatening you. This order must later be approved in a hearing where the person named in the order has the opportunity to be heard and present evidence.
Through an order of protection, a court can, among other things:
- Order the defendant not to abuse, harass or communicate with the petitioner in any way
- Order the defendant to keep a certain distance from the petitioner and/or her children, including the petitioner’s home, workplace and the children’s school as forbidden places
- Award temporary custody of children to the petitioner
- Prevent the defendant from selling, hiding or making changes to property owned by both the petitioner and the defendant
- Make the defendant responsible for the petitioner’s attorney fees and court costs after a full hearing
- If a defendant violates an order of protection, he can face jail time and significant fines
If you are in immediate danger from domestic violence, call the police. When you are safe, contact a family law attorney at our office so we can assist you in getting the protection you need and deserve.