A spouse who is a victim of domestic abuse may obtain a Protective Order against the perpetrator. Although a Protective Order is a civil action, if the order is violated it becomes a criminal action. Any person who violates a Protective Order is subject to fines and jail time.
Our family law attorneys advise clients in potentially abusive situations both about ways to avoid domestic abuse and about how charges of abuse against you may affect divorce or child custody proceedings. We will help you secure a Protective Order if necessary.
If you are in a situation in which tempers are running hot, you are better off leaving your home than being either a victim or perpetrator of domestic violence. In a divorce, the commission of domestic violence will frequently lead to the entry of a Protective Order, which places the perpetrator in a position in where they are removed from their home by the police, are not allowed re-entry into the home, are forbidden to possess firearms, and must have supervised visitation with children — in addition to a series of potential criminal charges.
The Cohabitant Abuse Act provides:
any cohabitant who has been subjected to abuse or domestic violence, or to whom there is a substantial likelihood of abuse or domestic violence, may seek an ex parte protective order or a protective order… whether or not that person has left the residence or the premises in an effort to avoid further abuse. (Utah Code Annotated §78B-7-106.)
The Act thus allows a spouse or domestic partner to ask the court for a protective order if there has been violence in the home — or if there is a substantial likelihood of abuse — even without the other spouse or partner appearing in court.
In some cases, people who are going through a divorce have been known to abuse the protective order process by obtaining a Protective Order under false pretenses. In these cases, it is imperative that you obtain counsel who will represent your interests zealously. The entry of a Protective Order causes detrimental consequences to the person who it is entered against, such as a loss of custody of their children and expulsion from the marital residence.
Our Utah family law attorneys are experienced in divorce and family matters involving domestic abuse. We will work with you to protect yourself, your children and your rights. Contact our Salt Lake City office for more information about our services.