Millions of American households are impacted by domestic violence each year, and Maine is no exception. In fact, domestic violence often accompanies and complicates divorce proceedings. If you are going through domestic violence proceedings and also pursuing or considering a divorce, now more than ever, you need the help of a well-versed Maine family law attorney.
In Maine, domestic violence is referred to as domestic abuse. This type of abuse happens between family, members of the same household, or dating partners and can include:
If you or your child has just suffered abuse or you are afraid of immediate violence, call 911 immediately. However, if the abuse happened in the past, you should file for a protective order. In general, this order makes it illegal for the abuser to contact you or come near you. It can also be used to evict the abuser from the household, award the abused parent possession of property and pets, and require the abuser to provide financial support for the other parent and their children. An order of protection might also mandate that the abusive parent be liable for the other parent’s attorney’s fees.
Applying for a protective order requires that you go to the county district court where you or the abuser lives and ask to fill out a complaint. Tell them you need to file for a temporary protection order. A judge will review your complaint, and if they deem appropriate, they will issue a temporary protective order. Within 21 days, a hearing must be conducted to determine if the order should be approved for an extended period, up to two years. If necessary, the court can renew the order after two years. If the parent violates the order, they can be arrested, serve time in jail, and be required to pay fines. If you file for a protective order, it is also a good idea to contact a Maine family law attorney to get the legal assistance you need.
Maine considers any type of domestic violence to be serious criminal activity. Children who live in a household where domestic violence occurs are living in an unhealthy and dangerous place. When a divorce takes place, family judges are allowed to consider domestic abuse when making rulings on child custody. Since the job of the court is to do what is in the best interest of the child, the non-abusing parent will almost always receive full custody. Depending on the circumstances of the abuse, the parental rights of the abuser may be terminated, or they may be granted visitation rights.
Divorce can be complicated enough without adding other factors such as domestic violence proceedings. If you are facing both at the same time, our compassionate Maine domestic violence attorneys are available to help. It is crucial that you get the legal representation you deserve during this uncertain and stressful time. Contact us today to schedule a case evaluation and learn what we can do to help you.
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The attorneys at The Maine Divorce Group understand how emotional and complex the divorce process can be and we are here to help.
Call to speak with a member of our team today, who can discuss your case and set up a consultation with one of our attorneys.
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