What can Maryland courts do when a spouse or parent gets violent?

On behalf of Jeffrey N. Greenblatt of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, October 29, 2014.

People in Maryland who have ever had to live in fear of abuse, stalking or domestic violence know how difficult it can be to go on with their lives. Domestic abuse is a significant problem in society, and even then, the full depth of the problem cannot be accurately measured because so many people stay silent and pray that the problem will go away. Unfortunately, doing nothing to protect one's self and one's children is not often a safe option. But, fortunately, an experienced family law attorney can help victims of domestic abuse and violence secure a protective order or peace order to stop the cycle of abuse.

Many domestic violence episodes accompany other domestic troubles, such as a divorce or a child custody dispute. These stressful situations can push people to act irrationally and aggressively, but there is never any excuse for violence or abuse. People who have suffered, or fear for their safety or the safety of their children, should seek out a protective order. A protective order can be secured against any person who is a current or former spouse, an intimate household partner, or a parent of a child in common. Likewise, a minor child can also secure a protective order against a parent or stepparent.

The protective order allows the court to issue a warning to the abuser, and if the abuser fails to comply, they will face serious criminal charges. The court may order the abuser to stop the abusive behavior, stay away from the home, school or workplace of the victim, and even remove them from the home if they share it with the victim. If children are involved, the court may grant temporary custody to the victim.

A temporary protective or peace order is the first step in stopping a concerning domestic situation from getting out of hand. After filing for a protective order, an experienced Maryland attorney can help people secure a permanent order and take additional steps as needed.

Source: MDcourts.gov, "Domestic Violence," accessed on Sept. 28, 2014