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Served with a domestic violence injunction? How to deal

They say that anger is almost always a secondary emotion--dig deep and you will find that anger is really fueled by fear, betrayal or sadness. When a couple goes from loving each other to calling it quits, it is usually due to a series of disappointments, failed expectations and recriminations. No one walks down the aisle believing their marriage is temporary. So when you reach the point where you choose to no longer to be a couple, it is usually accompanied by a great deal of hurt.

Feeling down about your divorce is normal. And most couples work together--one way or another--to settle their differences, move on and start a new life. But there are times when one party is so full of acrimony that all reason is lost. Bank accounts may be emptied, property may be destroyed and accusations of domestic violence may swirl.

Why do people do that?

As mentioned above, unmet expectations and hurt can fuel some pretty outrageous behavior. There are times when one party can come to see the divorce as a war, especially if they are being subtlety influenced by family, friends and even their attorney. If one party has been hurt--they may want to hurt back. They may want to gain control and power in the divorce. Filing a domestic violence injunction can give them they power they seek.

Courts take domestic violence very seriously. Accordingly, they are more likely to sign off on a temporary injunction, rather than risk the life or safety of a child or woman. But the order is temporary for a reason: you are guaranteed, under the law, the opportunity to tell your side of the story. You are guaranteed your day in court.

A hearing must be held within 15 days after the temporary order is signed. At that hearing, your attorney will present evidence on why the injunction is not only inaccurate, but unjustified.

Do I really need an attorney?

Walking into that hearing without an attorney is fool-hardy. Like it or not, judge's look askance at someone who represents himself. Your ex is sure to have an attorney present, and while you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, it's important to understand that domestic violence injunctions are decided in civil court. What does that mean for you? You've likely heard the phrase "innocent until proven guilty." That is a standard of proof and it is applicable when you have been accused of a crime.

In civil court, the standard of proof is "a preponderance of the evidence." In simple terms that means the judge only has to find the accuser's statements slightly more credible than yours. The margin can be as little as 51 percent vs. 49 percent. A margin of only one percent. Those are scary odds.

A domestic violence injunction will almost certainly mean curtailed time with your kids. In some cases, visitation may cease all-together. It creates an uphill battle in your divorce. It can even affect your job prospects and your ability to rent an apartment. In short, you must take advantage of the hearing, with a powerful and effective attorney, in order to preserve you-and your children's- future.

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Frank Family Law Practice
815 Orienta Avenue
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Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Phone: 407-629-2208
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