When violence strikes, don’t give love a second chance. A restraining order will help your custody case.
Long before couples get divorced or find themselves in child custody cases, they may have fights that turn violent. Domestic violence is, of course, a serious matter, and the family courts around the country are prepared to issue restraining orders and temporary custody orders to deal with violent persons and their victims. But just as often, couples brush their nasty fights under the rug, ignoring their legal rights and remedies.
Many times, a victim of domestic violence passes up the opportunity to get a restraining order or a temporary custody order – in the name of love, or in order to avoid disrupting the lives of the children by kicking one of their parents out of the house.
A domestic violence restraining order can have serious consequences for everybody involved. The law of domestic violence should not be trivialized; complaints should not be filed because somebody raised his voice, used profane words or lost his temper on a rare occasion. Judges are on guard for “victims” who use the domestic violence law as a sword (rather than as a shield), as they try to gain unfair advantage in a child custody case.
On the other hand, a legitimate victim of domestic violence should not give love a second chance. By filing a timely complaint for domestic violence (even if no divorce or child custody case is presently pending), a victim can obtain a protection order, a restraining order or a temporary custody order. This will not only ensure the victim’s safety but it will give the victim a decided advantage in a future custody case.
Spend a day in domestic violence court, and you will see lots of victims telling the judge how they were victimized in the past but never bothered to report it to police or to the court. Not only have these victims missed the opportunity to gain protection earlier and to secure an advantage in a subsequent child custody dispute, but they may be viewed by the domestic violence judge as less credible.
The best policy: When domestic violence strikes, file a report with police, file a complaint with the court, and obtain the protection order or restraining order. Even if you drop the case or withdraw the court orders later, the legal record you’ve created will assist you in a future custody case.