Domestic violence is verbal or physical abuse, or threatened abuse, when the person being abused and the abuser are in one of the following relationships:
- A spouse or former spouse
- A parent of your child (either born or pregnant with)
- Lives or has lived with you in the same household
- Related by blood or court order as your parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, or sister
- Related by marriage as your parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepparent or step-grandparent
- A person who resides or who has resided in the same household with a child. The child must be related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who resides or who has resided in the same household as the defendant.
Domestic violence can include intentionally or recklessly hurting someone, sexual assault, putting someone in fear for their safety or the safety of loved ones or pets, or harassment and stalking. Bear in mind that “abuse” is not only physical. It can be verbal, emotional, or psychological. Abuse is about control and power, so abusers often try to limit their victims’ freedom to come and go as they please, their financial resources, and their relationships with family and friends.
Arizona Legal Help for Victims of Domestic Violence
Arizona offers legal help and protection for victims of domestic violence. You are eligible for a domestic violence order of protection if you have an intimate relationship with someone (such as married, once married, or boyfriend/girlfriend relationship) and that person has abused or threatened to abuse you. If you are unrelated and have no close relationship, then the court order is known as a “protective order”. Orders of protection are issued on an emergency basis and will remain in effect for one year from the date they are issued by the court unless a hearing is requested by the alleged abuser once they are served. Parents whose children are being abused can file for an order of protection on behalf of their children.
An order of protection can order your abuser to not contact or go near you, your children, your pets, or relatives or people who live with you; stay away from your home, work, and children’s schools; move out of your home if you live together and it will contain an order that the abuser may not possess any firearms.
If you are not eligible for a domestic violence order of protection, there are other types of help available, including civil protective orders which protect parties who do not have the intimate family relationship but require protection from a person’s harassment. At Shaffer Family Law, we have worked with many women and men who have experienced abuse, and we can help you determine what type of protective order would be best for you.
How Domestic Violence Affects Your Arizona Family Law Case
As family law attorneys, we know how domestic violence can complicate an; Arizona divorce or child custody case. If you are involved in a family law case with your abuser, domestic abuse will have an impact on the outcome of that case. The attorneys at Shaffer Family Law can make sure that the court understands the nature of the abuse and how it should impact the court’s decision.
The Arizona legislature has stated that it is not in a child’s best interests to be exposed to domestic violence. Therefore, courts deciding custody matters must consider a history of abuse by a parent, whether directed at a child, the other parent, or another person in a close relationship with the abuser. A judge may consider not only testimony, but other evidence that substantiates allegations of abuse, such as police reports or records from social service agencies.
If the court determines an abusive party has committed domestic violence against the other parent, the child, or the child’s siblings, the judge must apply a presumption that the abusive parent should not be awarded physical custody or even joint physical custody of the children. The abusive parent is also not permitted to share in the legal decision making for children if they are found to have committed domestic violence. The abusive parent may be able to overcome this presumption with evidence that it would be in the child’s best interests for him or her to have custody.
With regard to parenting time, Arizona courts are required to grant appropriate parenting time to each parent based upon the best interests of the child. When domestic violence has occurred, a court may choose to order supervised exchanges of the children, or supervised visitation or in some cases, withhold visitation altogether.
At Shaffer Family Law, we understand how difficult your situation is. You can rely on us to listen to you, inform you, support you, and advocate for you and your children.
Domestic Violence Attorneys in the Valley and the Surrounding Communities
The attorneys of Shaffer Family Law represent clients in Arizona domestic violence matters in the Phoenix, East Valley, and the surrounding communities, including Pinal, Pima, Yavapai and Coconino counties. Contact Shaffer Family Law online or call (480) 470-3030 today to discuss how we can help you.