Are you the victim of domestic violence in Douglasville, GA? If so, you might be thinking of a plan to escape the abusive relationship. Our Douglasville domestic violence lawyers at Bardley McKnight Law LLC can help.
Spousal abuse is oppressive, but you do not have to face the divorce process alone. Our Douglasville divorce lawyers have decades of combined legal experience. We’ll provide compassionate, skilled legal representation to help you navigate the divorce process to get out of an abusive relationship.
Additionally, if you have been falsely accused of domestic abuse, you need to take steps to protect yourself. False allegations could negatively impact child custody and visitation. Our legal team can help you fight false allegations of family violence.
How Our Douglasville Family Law Attorneys Can Help You With a Domestic Violence Case
Domestic violence is never justified or acceptable. Unfortunately, millions of families experience domestic violence. Spousal abuse impacts the entire family.
We understand it can be difficult for you to come forward to stand up for your rights. However, we want you to know we are here to help. At Bardley McKnight Law, we are a full-service Douglasville family law firm, so we can help you with all aspects of your case.
When you hire Bardley McKnight Law, you can trust us to:
- Listen to you to help you identify your goals and the desired outcome in your case
- Explain your legal options, including filing police reports and seeking a Temporary Protection Order (TPO)
- Help you develop a plan to protect yourself and your children
- File for divorce and handle all matters related to the divorce
- Aggressively negotiate settlements that benefit you
- Advocate for your rights and your children’s best interests in family court
Our attorneys at Bardley McKnight Law are seasoned trial litigators and skilled negotiators. We’ll fiercely fight to protect your interests throughout your case. You have a better chance of receiving the outcome you desire if you have an experienced attorney standing beside you.
Call our office today to schedule a confidential case review with an experienced domestic violence lawyer in Douglasville, Georgia.
Overview of Domestic Violence Laws in Georgia
Domestic violence or family violence is covered in Georgia’s domestic relations laws. The law protects family members or people who live together from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
The laws apply to:
- A current or former spouse
- Parents and children
- Your child’s other parent
- Foster parents and foster children
- Stepparents and stepchildren
- Other persons living or formerly living in the same household
Family violence includes any felony offense. It includes battery, assault, stalking, unlawful restraint, harassment, and criminal trespass.
Domestic violence cases can involve several agencies and courts. For example, an abuser could be charged with criminal offenses, which would be handled in criminal court. In addition, the Georgia Department of Family & Children Services (DFCS) could be involved.
Regardless of the situation, it is wise to hire a Douglasville domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible. Our legal team will help you navigate the various aspects of a domestic violence case. We’ll protect your rights and best interests while providing guidance and support.
How Does Domestic Violence Impact a Divorce Case in Douglasville?
Georgia has 13 grounds for divorce. Twelve of the grounds are fault-based, and one is based on the no-fault grounds of irreconcilable differences.
Cruel treatment is one of the fault grounds. The code defines cruel treatment as the willful infliction of pain that reasonably justifies the fear of danger to life, health, or limb.
“Pain” includes physical pain and bodily injury.
Examples of physical abuse can include:
- Child cruelty
- Restraining someone against their will
- Other crimes against people that cause bodily injury
“Pain” also includes mental cruelty. Examples of mental abuse can include:
- Verbal abuse
- Threats of physical violence
You can file for divorce on the grounds of cruel treatment. In doing so, you can petition the court for a temporary protective order (TPO). A protective order is a useful tool in divorce cases involving domestic abuse.
What Can a Temporary Protection Order Do in a Douglasville Domestic Violence Case?
The family court has the discretion to include several terms in a protective order to prevent the abuser from continuing to harass or abuse the victim. The judge may also seek to protect the couple’s children from abuse.
A domestic violence protection order can:
- Require your spouse to move out of the marital home
- Grant you temporary custody of your children
- Prohibit your spouse from being near you or your children
- Order your spouse to pay temporary child support and/or alimony
- Require your spouse to attend counseling
- Order your spouse to pay your attorneys’ fees and costs
- Help you obtain personal property your spouse is holding
- Order your spouse to turn over any guns or weapons in their possession
Violating a protective order can result in contempt of court charges. The judge could sentence your spouse to jail time for violations. Violating the protective order does not favor your spouse in divorce proceedings.
How Do Domestic Violence Allegations Impact Child Custody in Douglasville, GA?
Domestic violence can be a significant factor in a child custody case. Judges can grant joint or sole custody in Georgia. Evidence of domestic violence can result in sole custody being granted to the non-abusive parent.
Judges decide custody cases based on the best interests of the child. They base their decisions on various factors.
Georgia statutes contain 17 factors for judges to consider, including any evidence of family violence.
Judges must also consider other factors when they find evidence of family violence, including:
- The well-being and safety of the child and the parent who is the victim of family violence; and,
- The perpetrator’s history of causing harm.
The judge evaluates all factors to determine what is in the child’s best interest. Generally, if there is evidence of family violence, the judge grants sole custody to the non-abusive parent. The judge could grant supervised visitation for the other parent.
Child custody is often one of the most heated issues in a divorce case involving domestic violence. Therefore, it is best to have the counsel of an experienced Douglasville domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible in the process.
How Do Domestic Violence Allegations Impact Property Division and Alimony in Georgia?
No specific law states that a judge must or must not consider family violence evidence when deciding these issues.
Property division in Georgia divorces is based on equitable division. Equitable division means “fair,” but it does not mean equal. A judge could consider allegations of family violence when dividing property, including who should have the marital home and the more significant portion of the marital assets.
Likewise, alimony is not based on the fault of the parties. Instead, it is based on a need for financial support and the ability to pay support.
However, the judge can consider all relevant factors when deciding alimony. Therefore, the judge could consider how the domestic violence impacted the abused spouse’s ability to work and provide for their financial needs.
Should I Report Domestic Violence to the Police?
If you or your children are in immediate danger, call 911 for help. The Georgia Commission on Family Violence provides information for individuals in an abusive relationship, including a hotline for help (1-800-334-2836).
Generally, it is in your best interest to report domestic violence to law enforcement agencies. It offers protection and creates a record of domestic abuse for divorce and child custody proceedings.
However, each situation is different. Therefore, if you are unsure what to do next, we encourage you to contact our office to schedule a consultation with an attorney. We can help you devise a plan to help you escape domestic violence.
Can You Help Me With False Allegations of Domestic Violence in Douglasville?
It is terrifying to be falsely accused of domestic violence. The consequences could include jail time and loss of custody and visitation. The court could also issue an order of protection, which could impact numerous areas of your life.
The first thing to remember is that arguing with the police or your spouse will not help you. Instead, you need legal advice from an experienced Douglasville domestic violence attorney.
A vindictive spouse might use false allegations of family violence to hurt you. The intent could be to gain an advantage in the divorce or seek sole custody of your children.
Our legal team can help you fight false allegations of domestic abuse. We’ll gather evidence and fight to prove that your spouse is lying about the abuse.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With Our Douglasville Domestic Violence Lawyers
Allegations of domestic violence are traumatic for the parties involved. Whether you are a victim of domestic violence or being falsely accused of domestic abuse, you need an experienced Douglasville domestic violence attorney to represent you. Contact Bardley McKnight Law today to schedule a confidential consultation to speak with an attorney about your situation.