Many times, the victims of domestic violence and abuse fear for their safety and/or the safety of their children should they begin the divorce process. While they are right to be concerned over antagonizing a violent or abusive spouse, there are a number of different steps and measures that can be taken in order to safely divorce a domestic violence offender, and ensure that you and your children stay safe and protected moving forward.
Understanding Domestic Violence in Bergen County, NJ
Firstly, it is important to define domestic violence, as the word “violence” can be misleading. Domestic Violence does not necessarily have to be physical violence, as mental and even economic abuse can often constitute “domestic violence” as well.
In order for actions to be considered domestic violence, they need to be perpetrated by a person who is at least 18 years of age or an emancipated minor against a person who is:
- a roommate or former roommate
- a coparent
- a married or divorced partner
- a romantic partner or former romantic partner
Additionally, the NJ Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) lists these 18 actions as being considered domestic violence:
- Terroristic Threats
- Criminal Restraint
- False Imprisonment
- Sexual Assault
- Criminal Sexual Conduct
- Criminal Mischief
- Criminal Trespass
- Criminal Coercion
- Contempt of a Domestic Violence Order (Restraining Orders)
- Any crime involving risk of death or serious bodily injury
- Cyber Harassment
So if you are suffering from any of these actions by a spouse, and wish to safely secure a divorce, what can you do?
Paramus Divorce Attorneys Help You Plan Ahead
Even more so than with a more typical divorce, when it comes to divorcing an abusive or violent spouse it is highly recommended that you plan ahead, and have the correct resources at your disposal. For example, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence recommends that before filing for divorce, you:
- Make a list of friends, family members, co-workers etc. you can reach out to for support.
- Make a written list of names and numbers (including domestic violence organizations) you can contact in case of an emergency.
- Establish an emergency code word with your support network in order to alert them discreetly to an emergency if necessary.
In addition to these steps which you can take to protect your safety, you may also wish to gather the kinds of financial documents that any individual who is filing for or responding to a divorce complaint would gather. These include things like identification documents (birth certificate, passport, etc), bank statements, income stubs, tax returns, and any other financial information you feel would be relevant to informing your Paramus divorce attorney as to what assets belong to you and your marriage, the income of both parties, and their contributions towards the various marital assets.
Teaneck Restraining Order Lawyers Help You Secure Legal Protection
Now that you have a support network in place and copies or originals of various financial and legal documents, you are ready to file for a divorce. However, in the case that your spouse is or has been violent to you or your children, you may wish to secure a domestic violence Restraining Order in order to ensure you and your children’s safety.
Temporary Restraining Orders can be secured through allegations of domestic violence alone, and can be requested through your county courthouse, or in an emergency by calling 911. This allows abuse victims to secure legal protection quickly and without worrying about producing firm evidence of their allegations.
However, 10 days after filing for a temporary restraining order, a Final Restraining Order hearing will be held at which evidence will need to be provided, defended, and validated as with any other trial. If you have filed a TRO, or are considering filing a TRO for any reason, it is important that you retain the services of an experience Teaneck restraining order attorney to represent your needs and interests at your Final Restraining Order hearing. Remeber, you have only 10 days to prepare, so the sooner you speak with an attorney, the sooner they gather the evidence necessary to securing a favorable outcome at your FRO hearing.
Contact Our Hackensack Family Law and Divorce Attorneys Today
At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience successfully resolving family law matters such as divorce, domestic violence, and restraining orders for clients in towns across New Jersey and Bergen County, including Paramus, Teaneck, Hackensack, Ridgewood, and Fort Lee.
If you are suffering from domestic violence and are in need of securing legal restraining order protection, a safe and fair divorce, or both, our firm is ready to provide you with the compassionate, attentive, and highly effective legal service that you need and deserve.
To speak with one of our attorneys and our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding any issue you may have related to divorce, restraining orders, domestic violence, or any other kind of family law matter, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.