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Family Violence

How can I get restraining orders to protect me?
How can I get a permanent injunction?
Who gets to stay in the home?

Family violence is now a very serious topic. Courts, law enforcement agencies, and other state agencies are now very aggressive in trying to prevent family violence. In the distant past, family violence was many times swept under the rug or considered an issue that was "taboo" or that should not be addressed publicly for fear of embarrassment of the family, or simply because, historically, claims by women were not taken seriously.

Of course, turning a blind eye to family violence is inexcusable and the system is now doing what it should do to try and protect both women and men from family violence at home. Certainly, protecting children is of paramount importance as well.

That said, there are numerous statutory options under Louisiana law at present that afford parties with the ability to obtain protection that is not only effective in terms of the orders the Court renders, but also by providing the State of Louisiana and national databases with information regarding persons who have a history of family violence such that those individuals can be tracked and dealt with in order to protect victims from any further violence.

All that said, however, it is very important to realize that no Court restraining order, no piece of paper, no document or other piece of literature can stop a person from who is dead set on committing an act of violence from doing so. Unfortunately, if an individual is determined to cause another person harm, then the aggressor may only be made to pay for his or her crime after the fact, and there is virtually nothing that could have been done to prevent the act from occurring in some circumstances. The key is not to wait until things escalate out of control. Get help early and do not stay in an abusive relationship.

How can I get restraining orders to protect me?

If you feel that you are in threat of danger, or if you have already suffered abuse, you need to contact an attorney immediately so the attorney can file pleadings as necessary to obtain protection under the Family Violence Act and other Louisiana laws that afford immediate restraining orders to protect spouses and children from further harm.

Such restraining orders will prohibit the offending party from coming within certain distances of the protected parties and any violation of that will result in the possible arrest and prosecution of the offending party. At a minimum, law enforcement officials will enforce the order.

How can I get a permanent injunction?

Restraining orders only last for a brief period of time. In order to obtain long term relief, a restraining order must be turned into what is called a permanent injunction. The restraining order is generally ordered by the Court to protect the party until a hearing can be had to determine whether or not the party that asked for the restraining order has a right to the relief they requested, and whether or not a permanent injunction should issue to create a new Court order that will last indefinitely in order to continue to provide the party with protection.

As you might imagine, there are people who abuse the system and file restraining orders when no harm has been done, merely to harass another party. In that instance, the Court would not grant a permanent injunction and would terminate the restraining order, and potentially sanction and fine the person for filing the restraining order if they did so without legal basis or evidence, etc.

That said, it is important to handle these issues before they become too volatile. In other words, many, many people are victims of spousal abuse in the form of an ongoing situation that they have simply refused to face, or that they do not want to admit. It is common knowledge amongst the Courts and the legal system that many people return to abusive situations simply because they feel that it is less fearful to be in an unsuitable situation where they know what will happen, instead of facing the fear of the unknown by leaving the spouse or the abusive situation.

Nothing good can come from remaining in an abusive situation and if you are the victim of abuse or threats of abuse, then you should seek protection and exercise your rights under the law immediately by contacting an attorney.

Who gets to stay in the home?

Courts are reluctant to throw persons out of the home, especially when it is community property. Thus, if one of the parties has already left the home, the Courts feel much more comfortable in issuing a restraining order that prohibits the abusive spouse from returning to the home. If, however, the abusive spouse refuses to leave the home, the party being abused often lands in a position where they have to leave the home, obtain a restraining order and request in their pleadings that the Court force the abuser out of the home and allow the spouse who has suffered abuse to return to the home after a hearing.

Of course, if the parties are not married or if the home is the separate property of one of the married parties, then the person who owns the home will usually be the one that gets exclusive use of it after a hearing.

All of these issues can be raised at the time the restraining order is heard and the issue of the permanent injunction is decided. It is a terrible mistake, though, to worry about property instead of personal safety. The main issue should be personal protection and getting out of the abusive situation. With the help of an attorney you can do what is needed and make the transition out of the abusive relationship.

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