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Taking action in the face of domestic violence

Every relationship has its ups and downs and relationships between spouses and current or former significant others are often particularly complicated. From verbal threats to physical abuse, acts of domestic violence can take many forms and, unfortunately, no one is immune to suffering such acts.

In cases where an individual is personally, or one's children are, in danger of suffering acts of domestic violence, it's important to take swift action. First and foremost, to provide for one's own safety as well as the safety of one's children, it's important to physically leave a home that is shared or accessible by an abuser. Next, it's critical to take action to obtain a restraining order.

By obtaining a restraining order, an individual is provided legal protections which, if violated, can be swiftly acted upon. An ex parte or emergency restraining order is issued by law enforcement officials and immediately restricts the violating party from contacting or being in the physical vicinity of the individual(s) named in the order.

To obtain a permanent restraining order, an individual must appear at a court hearing during which time he or she will be asked to provide evidence as to why such an order should be granted and made permanent. Due to the important and highly emotional nature of this hearing, individuals who wish to obtain a permanent restraining order are advised to seek the advice and assistance of a family law attorney. An attorney will advocate on one's behalf and work to ensure that the appropriate restraining order is promptly obtained.

Domestic violence doesn't discriminate and affects people from all demographics and income brackets. In addition to providing strong legal advocacy to spouses, parents and children who are affected by domestic violence, a family law attorney can also assist with finalizing divorce proceedings and in securing child custody modifications.

Source: Massachusetts Legislature, "Abuse Prevention," May 10, 2016

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