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A few years ago, I was in a pretty serious car accident. During the aftermath, I became really familiar with a lot of different types of lawyers. I worked with personal injury lawyers, insurance lawyers, and many others. Perhaps the most important, though, was the estate planning lawyer. I was really young, and neither my wife or I had thought about starting a will. But the accident kind of scared us into it. What would happen if one of us were to die? Even when still in the hospital, I was working with the lawyer to draw up a will. Now, I have some peace and security about what the future will be like if something should happen to me. And I have a lot of experience working with various types of lawyers! The accident was kind of a blessing in disguise in that way.

Domestic Violence & Divorce: 3 Things To Know About Your First Legal Consultation

Law Blog

If you're in a domestic abuse situation and stressed out about your first consultation with a divorce lawyer, there are certain things you should know. Below are three such things, as well as information on how a divorce attorney experienced in domestic violence cases can help you.

1. Your Lawyer May Request Documented Evidence

When your lawyer requests documented evidence of domestic violence, they're aren't saying that they don't believe you. Documented evidence, however, can be extremely helpful during the court proceedings.

Documented evidence of abuse may include photographs (of injury or property damage), police reports, restraining orders, screenshots of email or text conversations between you and your spouse, voicemail recordings, and even personal journal entries. While the majority of states no longer recognize at-fault divorces, proof of abuse (physical or emotional) can prove helpful in negotiations with your spouse and their lawyer.

2. You May Not Like What You Hear

One of the first pieces of advice you may receive from well-meaning friends and family is to remain in the marital home. Such pieces of advice may be wise with typical divorces, but domestic violence changes things.

Your attorney's first responsibility is to you and your safety. If you're in a dangerous situation, your lawyer may give you advice that conflicts with the advice of friends and family members – after all, not everyone understands what it's like to live in an abusive environment. If this is the case, it's important that you heed your attorney's advice. Does leaving the marital home mean your spouse can claim you abandoned it? Sure. But your safety is so much more important than a piece of property.

3. You May Receive More Help Than You Could Have Imagined

If you're in a domestic abuse situation and are wary of setting up your first legal consultation, it's important to understand that there are lawyers out there who're experienced in handling domestic abuse divorces, and they likely have a wealth of information and resources they can provide you with.

A legal consultation is your first step towards leaving an abusive situation, and lawyers know this – that is why many divorce lawyers provide helpful resources to their clients. Resources that an attorney may be able to provide you with include referrals to a low-cost domestic abuse therapist, information on local women's shelters, and so much more.

The first step is the hardest to take, but it's also the most important. To learn more about divorcing from an abusive spouse, consult with a family law attorney immediately.


3 June 2016