The events of the daily news bring global events right into our offices, homes and cars– almost the second they happen. Where domestic violence is concerned and occurs in a nearby street or city, it is common to think that is a norm.
The stress and duress of a typical divorce case appears to heighten factual sensitivity and general awareness; and domestic litigants sometimes raise and present concern and wonder if they need the protection of a protective order. The world appears to be a dangerous place, more so with matters of the heart–children–and pocketbook–standard of living and lifestyle.
The courts are the ultimate arbitrators of such matters; they face aggrieved parties and the accused, presented by skilled advocates.
As concerned family law advocates, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys hope this blog post helps provide you with educational background for the readers who are concerned about this topic as much as we are. Our singular belief is the more educated clients about the legal issue they face, including domestic violence and remedial relief of a protective order, the better job they will do of relaying key material to their attorneys.
Generally, the legal right to seek a protective order applies in a vast number of legal situations across a continuum of civil and criminal matters. This tool is best thought of in terms of what a protective order does: By an order of a trial court, it protects people, real and personal property, and rights of individuals (who may be actual people or businesses).
In criminal cases, which are not the central focus of this blog post, prosecutors and courts have a variety of tools to protect included people. Typically, a criminal court may order a defendant to have no contact with a victim or, at a minimum, where the parties have children together, no violent contact.
Furthermore, with extreme situations, if a victim provides an affidavit indicating a threat, and the prosecuting attorney has reason to believe it, the defendant’s bond may be revoked. This is broadly a protective order. In the context of federal litigation, courts sometimes have closed or sealed proceedings. This too is a protective order in some aspects.
In the civil arena, protective orders are quite common and used to limit how parties handle sensitive information they may obtain in the course of litigation. For instance, medical records may be subject to a protective order: that they only be provided to the attorneys and destroyed following the completion of litigation.
Businesses frequently seek protective orders by agreement or court order; this is in order to protect trade secrets that are or may be contained within information provided to the other side in discovery during the litigation. This applies in divorce litigation.
More focused, where there is the potential for, or actual occurrence of, domestic violence, a protective order may be sought and issue to prevent specific individual harms, all under a newer body of statutes known as the Indiana Civil Protection Order Act. The Act provides uniform forms and procedures that are widely used throughout Indiana.
The ICPOA exists to protect victims of domestic or family violence. Perhaps the latter is the appropriate tool in your case. As advocates, we sometimes observe undue reliance placed on ICPOA protective orders by litigants. They should not be a substitute for the realities of domestic violence and a more practical approach.
We believe the most effective strategy to combat domestic violence is to utilize a protective order in combination with three (3) other approaches.
First, an abuser, and, in particular, an abused spouse, is subject to repeat the cycle of domestic violence: Tension building. Act of domestic violence. And the inevitable Honeymoon phase where the abuser and abused make a pact to never let this occur again. Yet it does, over and again.
For this reason, counseling and a support group should be accessed with and used in conjunction with seeking the relief of a protective order.
This combination is a more effective tool to mitigate the abused spouse’s tendency to reconcile and start the abuse cycle over again. Remedy of any situation and empowerment of the parties to be better people in the future is what we believe the law focuses on from a policy standpoint.
Second, no protective order is effective in stopping an abuser who is not dissuaded from criminal punishment from acting. For this reason, in acute cases, the abused and his or her children should have an action plan to leave the situation, unless and until a ICPOA order can be implemented and made effective.
What is this? At a minimum, an abused spouse should have pre-arranged a secret shelter location or place to which he or she may flee to safety. In addition, some cash, cell phone and keys should be always available to assist with leaving the situation in which domestic violence may occur.
Third, the abused and his or her counsel must have awareness of how insidious domestic violence is and the ways in which it permeates all aspects of the abused’s life. For instance, the abused spouse and his or her children may not have a friend into whose arms to flee at the zenith of a particularly harsh domestic violence situation.
Isolation and alienation of the abused spouse is a central component of domestic violence. For this reason, an abused spouse, counsel, and the rest of those involved in the situation only take an incomplete approach to the issue, at best, by seeking a protective order. Successful cases involve such a multi-faceted approach.
We hope you find this blog on protective orders helpful and educational. At Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. we are a firm that believes that clients who understand the dimension and depths of any given legal problem are much more likely to reach legal success with their attorneys. We hope this is your case. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys practice throughout the State.