Domestic violence was a part of my family's life for years. When I made the decision to leave with my children, I had to rely on the law to provide the protection we needed. Sometimes, the system does not work as fast as we want. I soon learned that going at it alone without any guidance caused significant delays. I created this blog to help others who are seeking legal means to deal with an abusive ex. By making the right moves, it is possible to get the necessary protections in place so that you can also live a happier and healthier life.
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A case of domestic abuse can be handled in a criminal court, a family court, or both. However, the manner in which the case will be treated in both courts is different. There is a great difference between family and criminal courts. When it comes to a family court case, don't forget these three things:
It Is You against the Abuser
A case in a family court pits you against the abuser. This means the onus is on you to come up with a convincing argument on why your petition should be granted. You are both free to hire attorneys, but none will be granted to you by the state.
This is in stark contrast to the criminal court that pits the state (community) against your abuser. Through the prosecutor, the state assumes control of the case as you take the back seat. It is the community's responsibility, through the police officers, to investigate the issue and prosecute the offender. Thus, you have more work cut out for you in a family court than in a criminal case.
The Standard of Evidence Required is Relatively Low
It's also true that a criminal conviction requires a higher standard of evidence than a decision in a family law court. In many cases, a family court judge will make his or her decision based on a reasonable level of evidence. This is in sharp contrast to a criminal court that can only issue a conviction if the accusations are proved beyond any reasonable doubt.
This may either work in your favor or against you. It may work in your favor in that you may not need to prove your allegations beyond reasonable doubt. However, it will work to your disadvantage if your abuser launches his or her counteraccusations because he or she may also not need to prove them fully.
Your Abuser May Launch Counterattacks
You need to have a thick skin if you are going to battle your abuser in a family court. This is because the abuser will be allowed to launch counterattacks against your accusations. He or she may even come up with his or her own set of accusations against you. Don't be surprised if he or she launches a tirade about your alleged ills, such as drunk driving, not caring for your family's welfare, and similar things.
None of these things are possible in a criminal court where the defendant is only allowed to disprove the accusations leveled against him or her. A defendant who tries to launch counteraccusations in a criminal case will be stopped because such statements will be irrelevant to the case at hand.
These differences may help you to get the best out of both court systems. For example, getting a criminal conviction may help make your case stronger in the family court as compared to your abuser's counteraccusations. For more information, contact a family law attorney such as from the Law Office of Diane F. Russell.Share