Act Quickly to Protect Yourself and Your Children
Victims of domestic violence deal with a lot at any given time. They are constantly dealing with the physical effects and trauma of the abuse, as well as trying to keep their children and themselves safe. Their plight only increases when going through a divorce. As emotions run high in the divorce process, a difficult situation can take a turn for the worse at any point. If you are a victim of domestic violence and are considering a divorce, or have already started the process, consider taking the following preventive measures to protect yourself:
- Get an order for protection – The lawyer helping you with your divorce will discuss this with you. Your lawyer is your confidant. Tell them about your situation and learn about the possibility of getting an order for protection while your divorce is ongoing. If you or your children are being physically abused, an “ex parte” order for protection is an immediate remedy that can prohibit your spouse from having contact with you and children. Through an order for protection, you can designate areas that your spouse is required to avoid, such as your home, your child’s school, your workplace, etc.
- Rigorously work to win your child’s custody – In Minnesota, domestic abuse strongly impacts child custody in a divorce process. In most cases, physical custody goes to the parent who has been proactively involved in the child’s care and legal custody is shared by both parents. However, in cases where domestic abuse is present, this arrangement can be altered. Take the help of your family law attorney to ensure custody is decided in the child’s best interest.
- Request limited or supervised parenting time – Visitation or parenting time decisions consider a history of domestic abuse between the parents. You can request limitations on parenting time or supervised parenting time for your spouse to keep your child safe.
- Learn the effects of domestic abuse on your divorce – You should learn the various ways that domestic abuse may/may not affect your divorce process. For example, a history of domestic abuse is not referenced in Minnesota while dividing the property between the spouses. Incidents of domestic violence do not give you an upper hand to claim a greater share of assets. However, domestic abuse plays a large role in custody and parenting time, and you should be aware of your options.
The first step, though obvious, but often neglected, is to take the help of an experienced family law attorney who understands the law regarding domestic abuse. At Maxim Smith, LLC, attorney Allison Maxim assists her clients through the often complex process of divorce. Allison has over a decade of experience representing client in Order for Protection and Harassment Restraining Order matters and zealously advocates for clients in these matters. She has also successfully defended alleged abusers from unwarranted allegations of domestic violence.
Allison has a background in clinical psychology, and thus, understands the trauma domestic abuse. Allison’s understanding combined with her knowledge of the legal system helps her keep her clients safe and stable throughout the divorce process.