Domestic violence is behavior used by one person in a relationship to control the other person. Partners may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating. Emotional and physical abuse is often associated with domestic violence.

Domestic violence can take many shapes and forms and can happen all the time or only once in a while. An important step toward helping yourself or someone you know in preventing or stopping domestic violence is recognizing the warning signs. These include:

  • Name-calling or putdowns
  • Keeping a partner from contacting their family or friends
  • Stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job
  • Actual or threatened physical harm
  • Sexual assault
  • Intimidation

Domestic Violence Protection

Many people believe domestic violence laws only protect a wife from being physically abused by her husband. But the law today is much broader. Many states have expanded the definition of domestic violence to protect other groups of people, including:

  • Wives and husbands
  • Girlfriends and boyfriends
  • Elders being abused by family members
  • Roommates abusing each other
  • Gay and lesbian relationships

Do I Need a Domestic Violence Attorney?

  • Victims of Domestic Violence – Report any incidents of domestic violence to the local authorities (police) as soon as possible. Hiring a family attorney is also an important tool for your own benefit. Besides informing you of your legal rights and remedies, a divorce lawyer can also assist you in obtaining:
    • A Restraining Order to keep the person away from you
    • A Restraining Order to remove the person from your household
    • A Divorce or legal Separation
  • Accused of Domestic Violence – There are defenses available to anyone accused of any form of domestic violence, whether it is spousal abuse or dating violence. If you are accused of domestic violence, you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately. You may be facing serious criminal charges, so it is important to understand your rights.

Vea esta página en español: Violencia Doméstica o visita para más información legal.