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Domestic Violence and Your Rights

Domestic Violence in Your Divorce Case

South Carolina Family Courts take domestic violence very seriously.  The most common form of protection that victims can obtain is an Orders of Protection. A violation of that order may be made with or without an arrest warrant and is a misdemeanor. If you have been subjected to any kind of physical violence, it is important that you contact a Divorce Attorney to help you secure an Order of Protection. Give us a call today to discuss your individual rights.

Domestic Violence Protection Orders:

Order of Protection

Family Courts may issue Orders For Protection where Domestic Violence has occurred if one party can show either physical abuse or fear of imminent harm or danger. A petition for an Order of Protection may be made by any member of a household. The orders can also be made on behalf of minor children living in the household.  In order to file an Order of Protection, the person must be able to state with specificity the time, place, and nature of the abuse. Once the petition has been filed, the Family Court will inform the abuser that a petition has been filed.

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An emergency hearing may be held within 24 hours after the petition is filed. The party must demonstrate an immediate and present danger of bodily injury.

The Family Court may also address some issues on a temporary basis as a result, including custody of the children, child support, and possession of the home. These Protection Orders are usually heard on very short notice and are only valid for a specified period of time, generally between 6 and 12 months.

Why File an Order of Protection

An Order of Protection prevents the abuser from several actions:

  • The party must not abuse, threaten to abuse, or molest the petitioner;
  • The party must not communicate or try to talk to the party who filed the petition, or the person on behalf of whom the petition was filed in any way;
  • The party must not enter or try to enter the petitioner’s house, place of residence, employment, or other court ordered location.

Restraining Orders

The Family Court will issue restraining orders to protect spouses from harassing or threatening each other during a divorce action or permanently. The restraining order will not always mean “no contact” unless it specifically states it. The order does not prohibit either party from coming within a certain number of feet from each other unless it specifically says so as well.

The Family Court can also issue orders to protect the assets and debts of the marital estate. These orders typically prohibit the parties from selling, disposing, or converting any marital asset, or incurring any additional marital debt during the divorce action without with other spouse’s written consent.

What is Domestic Violence?

Under South Carolina law, domestic violence charges can involve an accusation against a spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend, or household member. As defined by statute, domestic violence is physical harm or the threat/attempt to cause physical harm to a household member.

A household member is defined as being male and female and are either:

  • Married
  • Used to be married
  • Live together
  • Used to live together
  • Share a child in common

Domestic violence sometimes is a pattern of behavior used by the aggressor to establish power and control over another person.  The violence can be physical such as hitting, slapping or shoving but can also be emotional or psychological abuse such as threatening physical harm to self, partner, or partner’s friends, family or children. Click here to read more about Domestic Violence laws in South Carolina.

 

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