Divorce, Domestic Violence, and Orders for Protection

Domestic violence comes in many shapes, including physical abuse, sexual assault, and threats of violence to you or your children. Statistics show that one in three women have been victims of domestic violence, and one in four men have also suffered domestic violence. Washington law has special protections for you and your family if you are the victim of domestic violence in your marriage or partnership beyond the first line of defense, which is contacting law enforcement and reporting the abuse.

An Order for Protection is one way to protect yourself and your children from future attacks. In Washington, these are called a Domestic Violence Protection Order. You can ask for one of these protective orders against a current or former spouse or partner if you have been recently abused by that person. You can also request a protective order if you have been threatened with violence. You and your lawyer will file particular paperwork to ask the court commissioner or judge to give you this order. The commissioner or judge will give you a protective order if he or she decides you have been the victim of violence or threats, and if the violence is likely to continue if you don’t have the protective order.

Domestic violence also plays a huge role in any child custody case. Even if your spouse or significant other was only violent towards you and not the children, the violence can still have a very real effect on child custody. Child custody decisions in Washington are made based on what is in a child’s best interest. The court will definitely take domestic violence into account when making that decision. If you have already received a protective order, that will also be important in the outcome of a child custody case. Supervised visits or even eliminating visits altogether for an abusive parent is also possible.

A divorce case without children is a different situation. Washington is a “no fault” divorce state, which means that even if you have suffered abuse from your spouse, it will not change the process of the divorce itself. In addition, any spousal support will also likely not be affected by domestic violence. Spousal support awards are made by looking a variety of factors, all of which are based on financial issues.

We have extensive experience helping our clients get court orders to protect themselves and their children from future danger. Call us today at (253) 272-9459 to discuss your case and what we can do to help you.