If you’re a victim of domestic violence, please understand that it can happen to anyone. Contrary to popular belief, domestic violence does not only affect people who are poor and uneducated, or on hard illegal drugs. While a history of child abuse and substance abuse are often linked to domestic violence, they don’t have to exist at all for someone to develop abusive behaviors.
“What is domestic violence?” Under Maryland law, domestic violence includes but is not limited to assault, placing someone in fear of imminent serious bodily harm, an act that causes serious bodily injury, rape, sexual assault, attempted rape, stalking, and false imprisonment, where the abuser interferes with the victim’s ability to move freely.
Domestic violence occurs between spouses, romantic partners, former romantic partners, parents and children, siblings, or people who are otherwise related by blood or marriage.
Should I File for a Protective Order?
If your spouse is abusing you or your children, it may be in your best interests to ask the court for a Protective Order. A protective order is a civil order issued by a judge. Protective orders tell the abuser to STOP the abuse. Beyond ordering an abuser to stop committing certain acts against you, it can order the abuser to:
- Stay away from you
- Not contact you
- Stay out of your home
- Stay away from your children
- Leave the family residence
In addition to the above, a protective order can give you temporary custody if you have children with your abusive spouse. If the judge grants a Final Protective Order, it can do any of the above, and it can order counseling, order the abuser to pay your filing and court fees, allow you to possess a jointly titled car, award emergency family maintenance, order the abuser to surrender their firearms, and more.
If you’re a victim of domestic violence, it will be in your best interests to speak with an Annapolis divorce lawyer from our firm about protecting your legal rights. We understand how overwhelming it can be to leave an abusive spouse, but with our help, you can gain an advantage because you’ll be armed with knowledge. Contact our firm to get started – we look forward to guiding you every step of the way.