Domestic Violence & Divorce

Domestic Violence & Divorce

Grand Rapids Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic violence takes many forms. Contrary to popular belief, it is not always perpetrated by men or directed at women. Individuals of any sex can commit domestic violence against spouses and domestic partners.

If domestic violence is present in your marriage, you should file for divorce. There is no reason to stay married to a partner who makes you feel unsafe and unloved.

Examples of Domestic Violence Include:

  • Hitting, kicking, or otherwise physically hurting a partner;
  • Prohibiting a partner from holding a job or earning money through other means;
  • Engaging in sexual acts with a partner without the partner’s consent;
  • Telling a partner that he or she is worthless, unlovable, stupid, or ugly; and
  • Manipulating a partner into complying with the abuser’s demands through force, a threat of force, or other tactics such as shaming and emotional abuse.

Protective Orders

When a member of a household is violent or threatening against another member of that household or family, the victim may turn to Michigan family courts for a personal protection order (PPO). These orders are also called restraining orders and can be used to help keep you safe if you are a victim of domestic violence.

What is a Personal Protection Order?

A domestic relationship PPO is a type of personal protection order that is sought through the family court (civil court) system and is not part of a criminal sentence. Under Section 600.2950 of Michigan code, a PPO prevents the person against whom the petition is being filed from:

  • Entering the premises (when the household is shared by petitioner and respondent);
  • Assaulting, beating, attacking, wounding, or molesting anyone named in the petition;
  • Taking children from the petitioner;
  • Purchasing a gun;
  • Entering or interfering with the petitioner’s place of employment or education;
  • Causing harm to any animal of the petitioner’s; and
  • Gaining access to certain records.

There are a few different types of personal protection orders in Michigan, but the most common type that is sought is a personal protection order for domestic violence, the stipulations of which are described above. In addition, it is also possible to seek a PPO for non-domestic stalking or non-domestic sexual abuse.

How to Obtain a Personal Protection Order

If you would like to obtain a personal protection order to protect you and any children or pets that you may have from abuse, you need to file a petition for personal protection order with the court. Your petition will need to include as many details as possible about the abuse that has existed between you and the party you are filing the petition against, as well as the reasons why you are filing a petition for a PPO. As soon as your order is signed by a judge, it is enforceable throughout the state of Michigan, and the person against whom the order pertains does not have to attend an ex parte hearing (which is where you explain to the judge why you want a PPO) in order for the order to be valid. After the petition is signed, the petition will be served to the abusive party. If the abusive party requests a hearing–which they have the right to do–you must go to it. It is smart to have an attorney with you to represent you at this stage in the process.

Michigan is a No-Fault Divorce State

In Michigan, all divorces are “no-fault” divorces. This means that all an individual needs to file for divorce is to claim that his or her marriage is irreparably broken.

This does not mean that the court does not consider the spouses’ faults when making divorce rulings. When making a child custody determination, the court will consider each parent’s history of domestic violence and could alter their parenting time accordingly. The court may also consider domestic violence and other faults when determining a spousal support order.

Work with an Experienced Grand Rapids Divorce Attorney

Domestic violence in a marriage is never acceptable. If you are facing abuse in any form from your spouse, get out of the home now, and when you safely can, contact an experienced divorce attorney to discuss your rights and options for ending your marriage. Contact Van Den Heuvel Law Office today to set up your initial consultation with a member of our team.

Contact a Knowledgeable Grand Rapids Attorney

For An Initial Consultation

To talk with our attorney about your legal concerns, contact the Van Den Heuvel Law Office by calling 616-698-0000. You may also complete our online contact form. After-hours consultations are available by appointment. We are also available on Skype by appointment.

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