What is Domestic Violence and What Can You Do About It?
Domestic violence refers to any instance or pattern of abusive behaviors committed by one family member against another, or between individuals who cohabitate or are involved in a dating relationship. Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical violence, assault and intimidation, sexual assault, and emotional abuse. Over the years, society’s shifting views on domestic violence have led to sweeping changes in both the civil and criminal legal systems.
When it comes to divorce and family law, family courts recognize the importance of directly addressing issues of domestic violence. As such, there are legal avenues available for victims to make their voices heard and to obtain protections or court rulings that take the circumstances and nature of domestic violence into consideration.
At McKinley Irvin, we are passionate about acting as bold advocates for victims of domestic violence, and our Portland family law attorneys have extensive experience handling domestic violence issues for clients during divorce and other family law proceedings. Our legal team is available to speak openly with local residents who want to know more about their options and how we can use our experience to help.
To help you better understand what you can do about domestic violence, especially when considering or initiating a divorce or other family law matter, we have outlined a few important things to know:
- Temporary Orders – Oregon family law courts take domestic violence seriously, and they provide opportunities for victims to request restraining orders. In cases where domestic violence presents an immediate danger, victims can seek temporary restraining orders that will be served to the accused individual faster than other court orders. In addition to temporary restraining orders, temporary emergency custody orders can also be granted if there is sufficient evidence that a parent poses an immediate danger to children.
- FAPA Orders – Aside from temporary restraining orders, victims may also request a Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) restraining order, which can provide the same type of protection against abuse and violence, including terms that prohibit alleged abusers from living with victims, contacting victims, or approaching them in any way. FAPA restraining orders must be requested within 180 days of an act of abuse or violence, and parties who are served an order have 30 days to request a hearing to challenge them. FAPA restraining orders are valid for one year.
- Child Custody – For victims of domestic violence, child custody can be a challenging issue. If a parent has not committed acts of abuse against a child, they may have the ability to still see their children. However, parents can request that parenting time be suspended, supervised, or contingent on terms (such as not drinking around kids or not being around certain people). Oregon law does presume that placing a child with an abusive parent through joint or sole custody is not in a child’s best interests. In cases where an abusive parent does pose substantial danger to children, parental rights may be terminated.