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What is Domestic Violence?|
Domestic Violence occurs when one family member abuses another. Family abuse can occur on a single occasion, but more frequently involves a pattern of controlling behavior and demeaning or abusive treatment. Family abuse may be emotional or physical and can include threats of bodily harm or forceful detentions.
Can I get a Protective Order?
Cole Miller PLLC can petition for a protective order for you if you have been the victim of a recent act of family abuse. The protective order statute defines family abuse as any act involving violence, force, or threat, including any forceful detention, between family or household members, which results in physical injury or places one in reasonable apprehension of serious bodily injury. Protective Orders are granted as a form of civil relief. You need to seek the advice of a Cole Miller PLLC attorney immediately following an act of violence in your household so that we can preserve your remedies.
Should I Call the Police?
Domestic Assault & Battery is a crime and if you are a victim of family abuse that rises to the level of a misdemeanor assault and battery, you can seek a warrant to have your abuser arrested for such crime. If the police are called to a residence where a domestic dispute is occurring, the police are called upon to determine which party to the dispute is the primary aggressor. If the police have probable cause to believe that a domestic assault and battery has been committed, they will arrest the primary aggressor. If the police do not make an arrest, or arrest the wrong person, Cole Miller PLLC may be able to assist you.
How do I Get Out of My Abusive Marriage?
If you are in an abusive marriage, the divorce process also offers civil remedies to address domestic violence and family abuse. “Cruelty” is a ground for a fault-based divorce in Virginia. The court has the authority in a cruelty based divorce to grant exclusive use and occupancy of the marital residence to the spouse who is being abused at the preliminary stages of the divorce case. Cole Miller PLLC can assist you in securing a preliminary order which requires your spouse to move out, if you are fearful of your continued safety and well-being should you and your spouse continue to remain under the same roof. The court will also sometimes award exclusive use at the preliminary stages of a divorce case, where there are minor children involved, who are being negatively impacted by their exposure to domestic disputes. If you wish to pursue exclusive use of your home in a divorce matter, or are concerned about being wrongfully forced to leave your home as the result of a domestic dispute, contact Cole Miller PLLC.
How do I Protect My Children?
Family abuse is also a factor that the court is required to consider in determining custody and visitation arrangements. Child abuse is of particular concern in any custody determination. You can talk freely and confidentially to an attorney at Cole Miller PLLC if you have questions or concerns about physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of your child(ren). We are here to help you find a solution while protecting your interests.
How can I Protect Myself?
If you are in an abusive relationship or marriage, it is important to have a safety plan in place. (http://www.domesticviolence.org/personalized-safety-plan). Often people stay with an abusive partner because they are afraid to leave. Creating a personalized safety plan minimizes the risks associated with leaving your abuser. YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE ABUSED.
In addition to Cole Miller PLLC, there are other people and agencies willing to help you. The Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Statewide Hotline can be reached at 1-800-838-8238. The Women’s Center offers counseling services locally in Northern Virginia and can be reached at 703-281-2657.
Teresa S. Cole
Michael C. Miller
Virginia C. Haizlip
Amanda Stone Swart
Camille J. DiIlio
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