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Dedicated to Protecting Abused or Fearful Family Law Clients in Santa Barbara

Dedicated to Protecting Abused or Fearful Family Law Clients in Santa Barbara

When divorcing an abusive or violent spouse, it may be difficult to gauge his or her handling of the news and reaction, and thus self protection and the protection of your children should become a paramount concern. If you suspect your abusive or violent spouse will respond with violence against you, preparation and planning becomes as important as immediate action at the right time.

When helping a family law client who is planning a divorce from an abusive spouse or the threat of abuse, the first thing I look at is whether a domestic violence restraining order is appropriate. I never assume that just because the domestic violence has not occured, that my client cannot proceed with a restraining order or that one isn't warranted. Evidence of threats or psychological abuse is often sufficient to move forward. Clients never realize how many rights they actually have when it comes to protecting themselves and their children against the threat of harm or further abuse.

If there is no imminent threat of harm, but my client is still concerned it may occur, I sometimes recommend temporarily moving out of the residence before the divorce filing (the timing of which becomes important) as a potential option to protecting yourself and your child. Alot goes into this choice and it becomes more difficult when you have children. However, the safety of you and your child is a greater priority than the inconvenience the move may cause, especially when the move is often temporary and is not intended to be where you will stay for a lengthy period.

Other insidious forms of abuse come in the form of intimidation and harassment, and is often intended to disparage you in front of the children or in front of others. No matter the method that is used, emotional and psychological abuse is a very common reaction in handling a divorce. In fact, in my experience, it is more common than physical abuse and financial abuse. The question is, how do you deal with it?

Dedicated to Protecting Abused or Fearful Family Law Clients in Santa Barbara

There are different ways, but I like to look at it in the following manner: If it is just verbal harassment (i.e.: yelling and screaming and acting like a jerk) and not a real threat of physical or financial harm then it may not be worth your time and money to bring requests for orders. But, if there is a real threat of physical or financial harm, recourse to extra-legal action such as seeking immediate court orders may be necessary.

If emotional abuse has gotten to a point where it actually violates California Family Code 6320 and falls into the numerous categories that have nothing to do with physical violence, I recommend seeking a restraining order. Some examples of conduct short of physical abuse are “stalking”, “threatening”, “harassing”, “telephoning, including, but not limited to, making annoying telephone calls”, “destroying personal property”, “disturbing the peace of the other party” and more.

The Law Office of Channe G. Coles will tirelessly work to protect you and your family against real or threatened abuse during your California divorce. Call today for a free confidential consultation.

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