Moving on from a violent or unstable marriage can be a life-threatening choice. Frequently, those who are facing domestic violence will experience worsening behavior from their abuser when they attempt to leave the relationship. Therefore, those hoping to divorce in response to ongoing domestic violence often want the support of a protective order before they file any family court paperwork. Protective orders can provide someone with recourse if their spouse continues to harass, stalk or otherwise intimidate them.
Typically, a judge expects evidence supporting someone’s claims they have endured abuse, stalking or credible threats. What types of evidence can help someone obtain a protective order in Virginia?
1. Official documentation
Medical records, police reports and any other official records of altercations, job disturbances or serious injuries related to the violence or threats someone has endured are all very compelling forms of evidence. The more documentation someone has showing that they have required the help of police or medical professionals, the easier it can be to show that they fear for their safety.
2. A private, written journal
Many people enduring domestic violence cannot reach out to the authorities or seek medical care because the person mistreating them will react with anger or fear. In a scenario where someone does not have an option of going to a hospital or filing a police report, they can start keeping very in-depth, detailed written records of each threat or active abuse that they experience.
3. Digital records
Stalkers and abusers may harass people online or send intimidating text messages to control a spouse’s behavior. They may share crass and violent jokes online or go so far as to create alternate, fake accounts to mistreat someone. Additionally, mobile phones can help people capture images of their injuries or of the damage to their property. A person could also document spotting someone stalking or following them using a phone.
The more evidence that someone has to support their claims, the better their chances of obtaining a protective order. Making use of the systems in place for the support of those experiencing domestic violence – as well as the support of a legal professional – can help to reduce the risk involved in getting a divorce in order to leave an unhealthy relationship.