It is getting to the point that almost every week a tragic attack concerning a child custody or divorce dispute appears in the news. A spouse disputing property and finances falls victim to an assault by the other party. Children are abducted and have been killed by a parent seeking revenge on the other parent.
I’ve been practicing law for over 34 years and the level of the violent acts triggered by family disputes seems to have skyrocketed. The stressors of a bad economy, uncertain job security and overwhelming personal financial demands may be contributors to the increase in these tragic events. Parents feeling powerless over their role in the lives of their children may believe the only way they can right a wrong is to take drastic action.
One thing I’ve noticed in cases where a family dispute ends up as a criminal matter is that the abused parent will delay seeking the help they require from the courts. A number of factors can contribute to this delay. Delay can be due to a victim’s belief that the abuser’s conduct can be best managed by the victim’s continued efforts to appease the abuser. I’ve never seen this strategy work for a victim. The only thing that’s usually accomplished by this approach is that the abuser takes further liberties, becoming more intrusive and or aggressive.
Children also suffer as the abuser becomes more threatening. They may be exposed to physical harm and are certainly exposed to emotional harm. Children learn from their parents. They will incorporate and unconsciously adopt the parent’s bad behavior resulting in the child developing unhealthy or abusive adult relationships.
Intuition is the key to knowing when to seek court protections. I have yet to meet a victim who did not know their partner or spouse possessed the capacity to cause physical or emotional harm. The victim may try to manage the abuser’s behavior or, with wishful thinking, believes somehow the abuser’s behavior will change for the better. In my many years of practice I have never seen an abuser unilaterally change their behavior for the better.
Take action and get the court protection you and your children deserve by hiring a skilled family law attorney to procure emergency protective court orders designed to deal with the specifics of your situation. The court has the power to order the surrender of any guns or weapons, restrict contact between the abuser and victim, as well as limit contact with the children. If the party restrained disobeys the court orders, orders referred to as CLETS orders permit the police to arrest the abuser and put them in jail.
The Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock are located in San Ramon, California. The firm practices primarily in the areas of family law and civil litigation. Ms. Kock is also a member of the LawGuru Attorney Network.