Washington DC Family Violence/Domestic Violence Lawyer

Your spouse or partner’s abuse, violent behavior, or threatened violence in your home is also known as domestic violence. These dynamics of power and control are emotionally abusive and can manifest in many ways and wreak extreme havoc on your physical and emotional wellbeing and the wellbeing of your children.

If you have an abusive or controlling spouse or partner, a Washington DC family violence/domestic violence lawyer may be able to provide insight and critical legal advice to protect you and your children. A compassionate family law attorney could help you understand your rights and what protections the law provides as well as what legal action you can take to protect yourself from intimate partner, intrafamily, or domestic violence

Common Examples of Family Violence/Domestic Violence

While some types of abuse, such as physical assault or threats to commit bodily harm, may be obvious, other forms of family violence like mental and emotional abuse can be difficult to identify. The dynamics of power and control that a partner or former partner may exert against you are often insidious and almost always continue long after the relationship has ended or you have been able to ensure your physical safety. Intrafamily violence means an act punishable as a criminal offense including but not limited to threats, assault or an attempt to assault that is frightening, destruction of property, and stalking.

Other more subtle acts of domestic violence, which involves a pattern of abuse and control, may include financial abuse or parental alienation. Other actions of an abuser or perpetrator of family or domestic violence include isolating a survivor or victim from friends, family, and loved ones, withholding medical treatment, and controlling finances. The cyclical verbal and emotional abuse designed to damage the survivor’s self-esteem and encourage dependence on the abuser may alternate with honeymoon phases where the abuser is charming and romantic. The honeymoon phases it makes it difficult for the survivor to leave because they are unable to clearly label the relationship as “bad” or “abusive,” especially where the abuser may be financially supporting the family and may even be a good parent or an otherwise trusted and responsible family member.

The abuser may monitor, follow, or survey the survivor or her whereabouts and communications, which may constitute stalking. The abuser may be aggressively intimidating or may subtly engage in controlling and manipulative behavior designed to make the survivor blame herself for the abuse or to feel like she is “going crazy.”

How is Family Violence/Domestic Violence Defined?

To be categorized as intrafamily violence, an incident must involve individuals who are related to each other in a certain way. Blood relatives, spouses or former spouses, domestic partners or former domestic partners, and people who have a child in common (whether married or in a domestic partnership now or previously) may all file for a civil protection order in DC. In addition, many other persons including even roommates who have no romantic or dating relationship may qualify to file for protection in the domestic violence division if they are victims of a criminal offense. You should consult a Washington DC family abuse attorney to see if you qualify to file for protection.

If you are or think you may be a survivor of household or domestic violence, one of our lawyers may be able to make a plan with you for your safety and can help you take strategic and decisive legal action to protect yourself and your children. Anyone who suffers from household abuse or domestic violence may benefit from a consultation with an experienced Washington DC attorney as soon as possible.

Requesting Protective Orders

A lawyer in Washington DC can help a survivor of intrafamily or domestic violence request a protection order to protect themselves and their children. The law even provides for temporary protection orders that are almost always issued on the same day that a petitioner files for a civil protection order. Usually, only the petitioner is present at these temporary protection order hearings.

We could help the petitioner file a petition for a civil protection order and advise them on the likelihood that a temporary protection order would be issued or whether they would have to wait until the civil protection order hearing to obtain relief. An experienced Washington DC family violence lawyer could advocate for the petitioner’s safety, protection, and independence either by negotiating a civil protection order by consent or by offering the petitioner’s testimony and other evidence at a trial.

If the court grants the civil protection order, it will remain in effect for a maximum of 12 months. The order could also contain provisions instructing the respondent to refrain from certain behaviors (i.e. to cease all contact with the victim and to stay away from them, their home, their workplace), to vacate the home the parties have shared, and to have limited contact or visitation with the parties’ children.

Call a Washington DC Family Violence Attorney Today

A Washington DC family violence/domestic violence lawyer may be able to help you exercise your legal rights strategically to protect your safety and interests if you are surviving domestic abuse. An attorney from our firm may be able to offer valuable insight and guidance every step of the way and can try to ease the stress of an overwhelming legal process. Call us today and schedule an appointment with an experienced lawyer.