Domestic violence involves a pattern of abusive behavior by one person of another person that is in an intimate relationship. Although domestic violence is often thought to only include physical behaviors, it can involve emotional, sexual, verbal and/or psychological abuse as well. It most commonly involves married couples, but it can also involve parents and child, siblings and even friends who reside in the same home. Each state has its own definitions of what constitutes an act of domestic violence, but it is important to know that violence is never okay, regardless of the type of relationship in which it occurs. Whether you have been accused of domestic violence or you are the victim of domestic violence, you may at some point need the assistance of a domestic violence attorney. Here are three things you can expect from your domestic violence lawyer:
Verifying the Allegations
When you retain a domestic violence attorney, the first thing they will do is to make sure that all of the required orders that have been filed and issued by the court. For example, courts orders may include a restraining order limiting contact between the two parties, a no-contact order or a civil or criminal injunction. In many situations, before these orders can be issued, the allegations must be verified, which may consist of your attorney requesting police reports and/or hospital reports. If you are the victim or the accused, your lawyer will verify that you did receive the documents and that you fully understand what the order is enforcing.
Domestic violence attorney's often recommend counseling for both the accused and the victim. Psychological evaluations may also be requested in order for the attorney to have a clear understanding of the psychological effects the abuse has had, which may add precedence to certain situations. For example, if the abuse has been an ongoing occurrence, the attorney may use the evaluation to request a no-contact order as opposed to a restraining order (which typically only limits the contact).
Advising the Client
One of the most important roles a domestic violence attorney has is to advise their client on how they should move forward from this time in their life. For the victims, this may include suggesting future counseling, recommending relocation or advising on how to proceed with the divorce. For those who are accused of domestic violence, if a criminal conviction was obtained, their attorney may become involved in the appellate process and/or remind the client of the potential consequences should they violate the judicial orders.
When hiring a domestic violence attorney it is important to not only find an attorney that is qualified to handle your case but one that you are comfortable with. Domestic violence charges can be extremely overwhelming and you will generally be required to discuss your personal life in detail, so it is essential that you are comfortable talking with your attorney about the intimate details of your life.