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There is no such thing as a stereotypical domestic abuse victim. Big Little Lies, the HBO TV series that is based on a book of the same name, illustrates that domestic abuse can happen to anyone. In the show, Celeste and her husband, Perry, is the couple that everyone in their town idolizes. They are beautiful, rich, and successful; they are the “Prom Queen and King” of every social event. However, Perry beats Celeste in easily coverable areas. Celeste is stuck in a cycle of abuse and blames herself for his violent outbursts. It takes years for Celeste to reach out and get help.

What is Domestic Abuse in the eyes of the Court? It is when a family or household member commits against another family or household member either: (1) physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; (2) infliction of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; or (3) makes terroristic threats, criminal sexual conduct, or interferes with an emergency call. Domestic Abuse is not just physical—it can be a verbal threat of violence.

How can you protect yourself from domestic abuse in the legal system? You can ask the Court for an Order for Protection (OFP). An OFP is a civil matter—not a criminal matter. To ask for an OFP, the person asking for protection must prove to the Court that one of the qualifying acts of domestic abuse occurred and that he/she shares a particular relationship with the person who committed the act of violence. The relationship could be someone you share a child with, a blood relative, romantic partner, spouse or ex-spouse, parent or child over 18, or anyone you have or currently live with. You can ask to have protection for yourself, and for your minor child.

If you have questions related to a possible order for full protection, dissolution of marriage, child custody questions, or parenting time concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office (952) 224-9410