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How do you prove domestic violence in an order of protection hearing or custody case?

 

 

Domestic violence is a crime that may be extremely difficult for a survivor to recover from, as many stay in a toxic relationships out of hope that things will eventually get better. Family violence encompasses physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. If you are being harmed by your significant other, ex, or roommate, you may have a valid case for domestic violence. Here is a list of steps you can take to prove that you are in danger of suffering future abuse and to help ensure that you get the legal protection you deserve.

Admissible Evidence

If you are contemplating filing a charge of domestic violence against your current or ex-significant other, you will need evidence to support your claim. If your partner or housemate used violence to inflict scrapes or bruises, visit your primary care physician as soon as possible. Doctors are trained to identify signs of abuse and can document the severity of your injuries.

Disclosing instances of abuse to a trusted friend or relative can create a witness for you in court if you later decide to file charges. We understand that you may not feel comfortable disclosing this information to your loved ones, so you could also keep a journal where you detail incidents and when they occur. Witness accounts or a journal could be used to create a timeline of repeated abuse.

Photos are powerful pieces of evidence for proving physical and emotional abuse. If you receive threatening text messages from your current or ex-partner, you could take a screenshot and submit those to the local family court. You should also take pictures of any injuries you have sustained as a result of family violence.

What Options Do I have?

There are several options at your disposal for filing a claim for domestic violence. Depending on the evidence in your case, one option may be better suited for you versus another. For this reason, it’s best to consult with an experienced family law attorney who could guide you in the right direction for your specific circumstances.

Only the police and the district attorney can press criminal domestic violence charges. You have the option of cooperating. This can put a survivor in a very difficult situation where they must decide whether or not to send their ex, and perhaps the father or mother of their children, to jail.

This can be the hardest route for a survivor of domestic violence to take, as it requires you to participate and help the prosecution prove that the alleged abuse occurred beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you are looking to collect civil damages against your abuser, a conviction of domestic violence can be extremely beneficial. Talk with a family law attorney to set yourself up with the best possible chance of collecting damages.

Civil Protection Orders

This is an excellent solution for people who have been impacted by domestic violence because civil protection can be sought regardless of whether an arrest has taken place. However, the petitioner must have been in an intimate relationship with the alleged abuser to qualify for civil protection. You must specifically allege that at least one act of domestic violence took place within the last six months under one of the listed offenses in Arizona Revised Statutes §13-3601.

You can file for a civil protection order at a local family court (although temporarily during the COVID-19 shut down, you must file at the downtown Phoenix courthouse), and temporary protection may be granted immediately. It is important to describe the abuse specifically including the dates on the incidents when filling out the form. After an emergency protection order is granted, the perpetrator will have an opportunity to contest this claim during a hearing at a later date. Therefore, you will need to provide evidence of why you need civil protection from domestic abuse.

Family Court

Lastly, you can protect yourself against domestic violence in family court during custody or divorce cases. In family court, you are only required to prove that a stay-away or no-contact order is in the best interest of your child. This can become evident to a judge based on the child and their fear of the alleged abuser. One of our well-practiced team members could help you protect you and your children’s safety in any family law case involving domestic violence.

Seek Legal Counsel Immediately

If you or someone you love is being subjected to domestic violence, contact a Mesa family lawyer today. The attorneys at Modern Law have experience in handling types of situations and can aid you in protecting yourself and your children from an abusive partner or ex-spouse. We understand the delicacy of these situations and want you to know that we put our clients’ safety and well-being above all. Call us today to speak with a compassionate attorney about how to prove domestic violence.