Leaving a domestic violence situation is rarely easy, but there are people waiting to help you. Crisis hotlines, shelters, and even job training and childcare resources exist to help you escape domestic violence.
Some of the people who are available to help you are legal professionals who have experience with situations like yours. If you are trying to escape domestic violence and anticipate talking to the police or getting a restraining order, you will most likely want an attorney.
How can a lawyer help with domestic violence?
An attorney can help you stay protected if you speak to the police, need to make strategic decisions, want to avoid certain unwanted legal situations, and assist you in filing for a restraining order.
If you are a domestic violence survivor, it’s important to have an attorney present when you speak to the police. Not every police officer is well-trained on working with people who have experienced domestic violence. An attorney will protect you from an inappropriate or traumatizing line of questioning.
An attorney can also help you avoid certain unpleasant legal situations, such as having to provide testimony in court if you do not want to. Refusing to offer written or oral testimony does not mean that the case will be dismissed, but it could help protect you or your family from aggressive prosecutors.
You may also want to work with a lawyer to file a restraining order. There are several different types of court orders you could file, depending on the situation. A lawyer can help you decide which type of court order is appropriate and file for the order.
Ultimately, you are the only person who can decide which legal options you want to pursue. However, your lawyer will be there to explain the possible outcomes in a settlement or trial and help you make choices that will be in your best interests.
How do I choose a lawyer?
Your lawyer should be someone you are comfortable sharing personal information with. They should seem interested in solving your problem and make you feel as comfortable as the situation permits. While it will not be easy to talk about your situation, you will need to discuss it with someone you trust to determine how best to distance yourself to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
It’s also important to choose a lawyer who has the experience you need. Ask any lawyers you are considering whether they have worked on cases like yours, and if so, how much experience they have.
Remember, your lawyer is your advocate. They are there to represent your interests and help you make strategic decisions.
What if I can’t afford a lawyer?
If you can’t afford a lawyer, a lawyer referral service can help you find someone who will take your case pro bono or on a sliding scale. You may be eligible for free or low-cost legal help. Check with organizations that assist domestic violence survivors for resources.
You are not to blame for the mistreatment you have experienced, nor are you the cause of your partner’s behavior. You deserve to live a safe life that is free from fear.
If you live in the Puget Sound region and seek legal aid with a domestic violence case, contact Anderson Hunter today to get a referral.