It’s an all-too familiar story. You may know someone who’s at their last straw. They exhibit all the signs of misery. Their take on the phrase “a happy home” is an out of reach notion for them. Their confidence is in shambles and you know deep in the pit of your stomach, as your friends and loved ones have repeated to you ad nauseam – you deserve better. Initiating a domestic violence restraining order can be nerve wrecking but in this blog we want to address how you can take your first steps in doing the right thing for yourself.
As we’ve stated in previous blogs, domestic violence can take many forms. It’s an infringement and assault on your right to feel safe, loved, and cared for in your own home. Domestic violence may be physically present in the form of:
- Open-hand striking or slapping
- Arm-twisting (literally and figuratively)
- Throwing blunt objects around you
- Forcing unwanted sexual advances
- Withholding access to survival necessities (such as medication, food, water, sleep, etc.)
- Self-inflicted physical harm done to the aggressor themselves, as a way to emotionally coerce the victim into pleasing or appeasing the aggressor.
- Purposefully damaging property.
And don’t forget, there are less obvious forms of abuse that don’t quite reach the threshold of abuse under the law but are oftentimes the precursor to physical abuse:
- Constant criticism
- Manipulation of emotions to induce guilt
- Silent treatment
- Inducing frustration and doubt by constantly making and breaking promises.
To further bring this scenario to life, let’s also discuss some even less obvious forms of abuse. Here are some examples of some seemingly harmless behaviors which are easily perpetrated under the guise of care and comfort:
- Frequent calls and messages throughout the day to “check up” on you.
- Constant accompaniment.
- A strong need to assert their “constructive” opinion on your physical appearance
- Isolating you from contact with friends and family, so that it just always you two.
- The need for repeated justification of your daily whereabouts, usually preceded by accusations.
- A firm stance against your pursuit of employment and skill development, as the aggressor insists that everything will be handled and provided by them.
The moment you realize that you have had enough, you’ve just taken the first step of liberating yourself from the abuse – making the courageous decision to protect yourself physically and/or emotionally. Surprisingly, there aren’t many who get the ball rolling on tough decisions such as these and for that, you should be proud of yourself for clearing this emotional and mental threshold. With this idea in place, you or your loved one will be able to move through this process fearlessly. Here are your next steps:
- Gather all your evidence. This is including, but not limited to old messages, photos of sustained injuries, call logs, etc. DVRO requests are more effective when the incident is recent, backed by documented evidence of repeated behavior. Find anything with a time stamp or a date. Evidence from witnesses and/or close ones can also potentially prove to be useful. The more ammunition you have, the better.
- Contact an attorney. Preferably, someone who you feel you can trust, with a personality you gel with. Connection is key for this step. Remember, you will be spilling your heart out to this person so it is imperative to find a compassionate attorney who will respect and understand your vulnerability while making your steps moving forward as clear as possible.
- Construct a timeline of events. Once you have found your attorney, turn over all your evidence. Along with your evidence, provide a narrative of events in the form of a bullet list, timeline, essay – whatever you have, so your legal team can use the information to prepare your case effectively. Your case will stand a stronger chance with a carefully drafted narrative directly from you.
- Make yourself available. Time is of the essence. For the next 24 hours, it is a good idea to make yourself available for calls and emails from our team. Your case is important to us, and we understand the urgency for the protection of yourself and your loved ones. Remember, your safety is our goal and as such, we want to prepare a succinct and accurate argument on your behalf before the court. While we are hard at work compiling and crafting all the necessary parts for a successful DVRO, your input will be much appreciated.
- Review and sign. Once all the necessary documents are drafted, please review them thoroughly for any overlooked facts, or for any edits that you would like to make. Send your signed and dated documents to us as soon as possible.
- Court filing. A DVRO qualifies as an emergency before the court’s eyes and we will then go into ex-parte.
- Notifying the other side. We will call your partner to inform them of the date, time, and location of the hearing. They will have an opportunity to appear and oppose the claims.
- Depending on the court the action is filed in, there may be a one hour process time, and there may very well be a 1 day turnaround time. You and your legal team will be notified by the court whether the restraining order has been granted or not. A follow up hearing will also be scheduled for a future date.
Desai Law is a leading family law firm in Orange County and Long Beach California. If you are in a situation requiring a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO), contact us, we treat each case with the highest confidentiality.