Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Because April is sexual assault awareness month I wanted to discuss ways that the law can help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. If you are a victim of sexual assault and domestic violence, then a family lawyer can help you get a restraining order for as long as five years, requiring that your partner stay 100 yards away from you, your kids, your home, your work, your children’s school and your car. The order can also require that your partner move out of your home and you can seek physical and legal custody of your children. If you have any animals you can also seek protection for them under the order.
If you are married to your abuser, then you can file for divorce in family court and seek sole physical and legal custody of the children. You can request that your abuser be required to move out of the home because of the violence and you can request that the abuser only have supervised visits with your children.
If you are renting a home under a long term lease, and you are concerned about your safety, then as a victim you can give 30 days notice that you are breaking the lease to move to another apartment and not suffer significant financial consequences. You can take time off from work to deal with court without fear that you will lose your job, but you have to tell your boss before going to court.
If you are married to a U.S. citizen or green card holder, you don’t have to stay in the marriage. You can file for divorce and still apply for legal status on your own under the Violence Against Women Act. So there are many ways that the law can help you get a better life.