Domestic Violence

What Is Domestic Violence?

Texas law (RCW 26.50.010) defines domestic violence as “Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members.” Put another way, domestic violence is the actual act of hitting, pushing or otherwise touching someone you know in a harmful way.

It is also the “infliction of fear” that you will harm another. For example, suppose a husband constantly tells his wife that he will hit her if she does not do as he says. If she reasonably believes that he will actually hit her unless she complies with his demands, that is also considered domestic violence. It is domestic violence because even though he did not actually hit her, he threatened to hit her and the wife became fearful that he actually would.

It’s important to know that domestic violence isn’t only physical, it can be emotional or sexual in nature. Destroying property, injuring pets or stalking are also categorized as domestic violence. According to some experts, domestic violence occurs in about one out of every three relationships.

In the context of divorce, we generally see two types of domestic violence. One, there is domestic violence as a cause of divorce. In these cases, victims, usually women, institute a domestic violence petition concurrently with a divorce petition. Two, we see domestic violence as a result of divorce. In these later cases, we see claims of domestic violence after someone has said they will get a divorce or after they actually file.

This second category is rarer than the first and more difficult to prove. We understand that living in fear of a spouse is a tremendous source of stress for you and your children. If you’re experiencing any of these actions, contact Engel Law Group, P.S., we’ll need to work fast to provide you with the most effective legal action available.

Understanding Domestic Violence Protective Orders

Domestic Violence Protective Orders (DVPO) prohibit the defendant from having any contact with the victim. In Dallas, Collin, and Tarrant Counties, a DVPO usually also prohibits the defendant from having any contact with his or her children too. In this sense, domestic violence Protective Orders are routinely used as a back-door way to modify a parenting plan.   In fact, it is also not uncommon to see domestic violence petitions used as a proxy in a custody fight in order to gain a strategic upper hand.

In these kinds of cases, we have routinely defended people accused of domestic violence. In order to obtain a domestic violence Protective Order, a person must appear in court and explain to a judge why they feel that they are a victim of domestic violence. Usually, a judge will sign an order temporarily granting the Protective Order. At this point, a DVPO is usually served to the abuser by a police officer. The temporary Protective Order establishes a hearing two weeks later so the abuser may appear in court to argue his or her case. If this is not done, the order will probably become permanent.

A Protective Order not only offers protection, it often also forces the defendant to comply with family obligations, including payment of child support and medical insurance. This order can also prohibit the abuser from spending any time with the children. It usually also prohibits defendants from taking the child or children out of state.

If this should happen, the abuser will be tracked down and arrested, and the children will be returned to the spouse. Because Protective Orders are enforceable between different states, Engel Law Group, P.S., can move quickly to have the Protective Order enforced, and the guilty party brought to justice. For example, in one case we successfully used a writ of habeas corpus to force the mother to return the child to the father who was residing in another state.

Protecting You From Domestic Violence

The Engel Law Group, P.S., takes domestic violence very seriously, and we protect our clients by having the court issue an order of protection or restraining order. This order prohibits the defendant from approaching the client’s home or frequenting the same areas as the client. In the event the abuser violates the order, the police can legally arrest him or her and place that person in jail.

Engel Law Group, P.S. wants you and your children to feel protected. Contact us today, we’ll keep you safe.