Unfortunately, many divorces filed in Utah are the result of, or involve, some form of abuse. Often parties to a divorce action are also parties to a protective order, domestic violence charge, or civil stalking injunction. Victim’s of abuse some times put off filing for divorce for fear of how their spouse might respond. While this fear is understandable, a victim of abuse should never put off getting appropriate help and safety. While we are not therapists, law enforcement officers, or abuse counselors, we can provide some general legal information that may be helpful to victims of physical abuse who wish to file for divorce but are worried about their safety in the process.
Contacting Law Enforcement
Of course, if you are ever psychically abused by a spouse, the first step should be to contact the police as quickly as possible. This is especially important if you have children in the home. Your safety and the safety of your children must come first. Do not let fear get in the way of taking this action. Often a no contact order is issued as a result of a domestic violence charge. The system is set up to help the abused spouse and protect them from future harm. You can also contact victim’s services in the area in which you live who can direct you as to the best plan for your safety and the safety of your children.
Filing for a Protective Order
Many victims do not realize that filing for a protective order can put into place an immediate stay away and no contact order protecting you from an abuser. It often makes sense for a married victim to file a protective order prior to or contemporaneously with a petition for divorce. Your spouse will be served by local law enforcement officers with a protective order that can legally order the spouse to stay away from you, any children, your home, school, etc. Your spouse will be given a hearing date to argue a defense but will be temporarily restrained from committing abuses against you. The protective order can become permanent at the hearing if the judge finds evidence of harm, threats of harm, or that harm is likely to occur in the future.
Speaking with a Provo Divorce Lawyer
Speaking with a Provo Divorce Lawyer can help you prepare and take the right steps to get protection from abuse and proceed with a divorce. At our law firm, we offer free consultations and can get you started in the right direction right over the phone. Do not hesitate to give us a call. Your conversation with an attorney is privileged, private, and confidential.