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Domestic violence victims may require protection before divorce

A recent article addressed the issue of domestic violence affecting women in the state of Washington.

Readers may not realize how common the problem of domestic violence is. According to data collected by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, hotlines in the state of Washington received 837 calls on just one day in September 2013. The entity collects data from each state on just one date each year, chosen at random.

Yet that data may not be an anomaly. According to a spokesperson for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, deaths related to domestic violence claimed 35 lives in the state last year. Thousands more could be struggling with domestic violence in their households.

An attorney that handles family law and divorce matters knows that domestic violence victims may not always consult with an attorney or seek other resources for help, such as hotlines or law enforcement authorities. Financial dependency, emotional attachments and fear for one’s physical safety can all be reasons why an abuse victim remains silent.

Yet there are options available. The police might provide temporary support, and the law can provide more long-term options, such as a temporary or permanent restraining order. Criminal charges might even be pursued against an aggressor. 

Notably, relief from domestic violence is available even before a divorce filing. Indeed, obtaining a court order prohibiting an individual from communicating, contacting or coming within a certain distance of another person may be a prerequisite to exploring divorce options. An attorney knowledgeable in divorce and family law can guide individuals throughout the entire process.

Source: Seattle Times, “Arm yourself with information to help stop domestic violence,” Jerry Large, April 13, 2014

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