Domestic violence isn’t something anyone should have to go through. Physical abuse is just one aspect of it, and there are other types as well. Being clear with your attorney about why you’re leaving your spouse is important to your case. Here are three good reasons to do so instead of hiding the real reason that is motivating your divorce.
Your attorney can help keep you safe
Attorneys can submit documents like protective orders that can be enacted almost immediately, helping keep you and your family safe from an alleged abuser. Emergency protection orders can help remove an abuser from the home and make it a safe place for you to return to. An emergency order is temporary, lasting around three to seven days, but this gives you and your attorney time to request a protection or restraining order that lasts much longer. Some of the possible provisions in a protection order include a “stay away” provision that requires the abuser to stay at least 100 yards from you, your home or your family, a “move out” provision that forces the abuser to move out of the home shared with you, or a “no contact” provision, which prohibits the abuser from seeing you or having any contact with those protected by the order.
Your attorney can help protect yourself against criminal charges
It’s sadly the case that those accused of a crime are sometimes the victim of the real crime. Those who abuse others learn to twist stories and make accusations that protect them but make the real victim into the accused. Talk to your attorney about the things that have happened to you and collect evidence of the injuries or abuse you’ve been suffering. With evidence and information provided to your attorney early on, you can get the protective orders or restraining orders needed to show that you’re a victim, not a perpetrator.
Your attorney can help you get the most out of your divorce
You’ve already been living in a difficult situation, and it’s not uncommon for victims of abuse to have no access to funds or to have few assets to their names. Your attorney can help you move through the divorce process in a way that helps you obtain what you need to move on with your life safely and with the support — personal and monetary — you need. If there are children involved in the case, your attorney can also help you decide on visitation or custody arrangements. You may want to seek that the court limits or removes any access rights, for example.
An attorney needs to know what’s happening behind closed doors to help you with your case. Be truthful to maximize what he or she can do for you.