How can an attorney help a victim of domestic violence?

On Behalf of Griswold LaSalle Cobb Dowd & Gin LLP

Domestic violence affects a large portion of California residents. Unfortunately, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in four men are victims of domestic violence. Although there are many organizations dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence, an attorney can offer many important services as well.

There are many ways an attorney who has experience in domestic violence can help their client.

  • Get a protective order in place. In California, an attorney can obtain a protective order, also known as a restraining order, against the abuser. A temporary protective order or emergency protective order can remain in effect for up to 5 years. The protective order can protect the victim against harassment, physical abuse, stalking, threat of violence, stay a certain distance away from the victim, stay out of the family residence, and do not contact the victim.
  • File for divorce. An attorney can help their client file for divorce against their abuser.
  • Get custody of children. If the couple have children together, an attorney can help their client get custody of the children.
  • File a domestic violence lawsuit. An attorney can file a civil lawsuit against the abuser for damages. Compensation may be recovered for medical expenses, financial loss, or pain and suffering caused by the abuser.
  • Communicate with defendant. An attorney can be the point of contact between the victim and the abuser so that the victim doesn’t need to deal with any more abuse or conflict.

A victim of domestic abuse may find that an attorney can be a valuable resource. An attorney has the legal expertise to hold an abuser accountable for their actions and make sure a victim and their family is safe.

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