Leaving an abusive marriage is a frightening prospect. Attempting to leave an abuser can often lead to an escalation in violence. Even if you believe you can leave without any issues, you may worry that you don't have anyone you can turn to. It is common for abuse victims to hide their issues from the people close to them. Abusers also often isolate their victims from their support networks.
Thankfully, there are laws in place in Arizona intended to protect the victims of domestic violence during dangerous transitions. If you intend to leave a spouse who has engaged in physical abuse against you or your children, securing an order of protection can be one way to help keep you safe.
How do you qualify for an order of protection?
There are specific requirements for those who wish to obtain an order of protection. The first requirement is that the person seeking the order has a familial or intimate relationship with the subject of the order.
The second is that the person seeking the protective order must have experienced some form of domestic violence within the last year. A broad range of crimes, ranging from assault to stalking and intimidation, potentially qualify as domestic violence under this law.
For those whose situations do not meet the requirements for an order of protection, orders related to harassment may also be an option. However, anyone seeking a divorce in a domestic violence situation should typically meet the requirements for an order of protection.
An order of protection can help you and your children during the divorce
If you attempted to hide the abuse that you suffered at the hands of your spouse, there may not be a legal record of what happened in your home. Many people do not call the police out of fear of what would happen later.
Securing an order of protection is an important first step in establishing a paper trail related to the violence you've endured. In general, the courts expect there to be some amount of verifiable evidence when a person claims domestic abuse in a divorce. Any violations of an order of protection could help you build your case.
Police reports, criminal proceedings and even medical records can all help a victim leaving a domestic violence situation document what has happened. Mobile phone images or videos, harassing digital messages and other electronic evidence can also help.
If you need to leave the domestic violence situation behind you, the help of an experienced family law attorney can prove invaluable. Your attorney can guide you through the complicated process of securing an order of protection and advocate for safe custody terms for your children in court.