According to most statistics, domestic violence is the second most under-reported crime in the U.S., after rape. Domestic abuse makes victims feel trapped. If you’re suffering abuse from your domestic partner, you might be hesitating to get a divorce: you could fear reprisals from your spouse, you may be worried about becoming homeless or endangering your children, and you may even be hesitant to take any action that leads to your domestic partner’s arrest.
Whatever your concerns are, they’re legitimate. However, if you’re suffering domestic abuse, you need to get yourself – and your children, if you have any – away from the offender immediately, and then act to maintain your safety in the long term.
It’s important to know your options. These fast facts could help you deal with domestic abuse before you begin a divorce.
Not all domestic abuse is physical.
Many victims of domestic abuse aren’t sure that what they’re experiencing “qualifies.” However, if you’re wondering if what you’re experiencing is domestic abuse, it probably is. In New Jersey, the 1990 Prevention of Domestic Violence Act established that domestic violence includes:
· terroristic threats
· criminal restraint
|· sexual assault
· false imprisonment
· criminal sexual contact
· criminal mischief
· criminal trespass
· financial coercion
If you’re experiencing anything like the above, get yourself to safety by calling the police or removing yourself (and your children) to a safe place to stay. Then contact a domestic violence attorney to make a long term plan for your protection.
New Jersey police could come and arrest the abuser today.
New Jersey State law mandates that, if police respond to a domestic violence complaint, so long as there is evidence that the complaint was grounded, the police must arrest the abuser on the spot.
If you’re a victim, this gives you power. Know that an end to your abuse could be just one phone call away. Law enforcement officials will come quickly to deescalate the situation, stop the abuse, and arrest the abuser. They will also seize weapons if you have secured a court order for them to do so.
An emergency court order could protect you and your loved ones.
You might hesitate to call the police on an abuser. Victims of domestic abuse often have mixed feelings. After all, they were victimized by a person they once loved – and in some cases still love. If you don’t want to send your abuser to jail immediately, you can contact an attorney for help securing an emergency protective order. This could:
- Keep the alleged perpetrator from the premises.
- Keeping the alleged perpetrator from the victim’s workplace or any other place the victim frequents.
- Authorize the police to seize weapons.
- Prevent the alleged perpetrator from purchasing any weapon.
- Grant possession of shared pets to the victim.
- Give the victim exclusive possession of the home.
- Establish a temporary child custody and parenting plan.
- Order the alleged perpetrator to compensate the victim for any losses.
- Order the alleged perpetrator into counseling or a psychiatric evaluation.
- Prohibit the alleged perpetrator from contact with the victim.
- Require the perpetrator to pay the victim’s living expenses.
Knowing violation of any of these terms could lead to fines of up to $10,000, and time in jail. A second violation carries a 30-day minimum jail sentence, which could extend to 18 months.
However, not every New Jersey emergency protective order will contain all of these provisions. This makes it imperative for you to contact a New Jersey family law attorney.
Even if the police have arrested the abuser, he or she will eventually be released. You’ll want an attorney’s help securing a comprehensive emergency protective order, and later, if need be, a permanent protective order, to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Committed to your legal protection
Domestic violence and divorce often accompany one another. If you think you or a person you love could be the victim of domestic abuse, contact Tanya L. Freeman today to schedule a free consultation, and get the help you need.