An Experienced Texas Domestic Violence Divorce Lawyer Answers the Most Frequently Asked Questions
People who suffer from domestic violence (also known as family violence) often feel confused and disempowered in their relationships, preventing them from taking critical actions to secure their safety. If you are married to your abuser, the prospect of divorce may further complicate your feelings. Still, it is imperative for your safety that you not only identify how to get out of a dangerous situation that could lead to your severe injury or death.
First, you need to remove yourself from the risk of harm physically, and then you may consider pursuing criminal charges, if applicable, or divorce, or both. Working with a skilled and compassionate domestic violence divorce lawyer can protect you and help you reclaim your life. Below, attorney Tycha Kimbrough of Kimbrough Legal, a family lawyer in Austin, TX, answers frequently asked questions about domestic violence.
Important: if you are in immediate physical danger, please call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE.
What Counts as Domestic Violence in Texas?
Domestic Violence in Texas includes:
- Causing bodily harm to a family or household member
- Threatening a family or household member with bodily injury
- Engaging in offensive or provocative contact
Is Domestic Violence Common in Texas?
Unfortunately, family violence is widespread. According to the Texas Council of Family Violence, one out of three Texans will experience domestic violence within their lifetime.
In 2020, Texas authorities recorded 213,875 incidents of family violence—a disturbing increase of 8.6% compared to the previous year. Of these, over 400 were homicide cases.
In 25% of the incidents, the victims had a marital relationship with the offender. In 16% of the cases, the victim was the offender’s child, stepchild, or foster child. Over half of the family violence incidents occurred between other family members, like siblings, in-laws, or roommates.
According to domestic violence reports filed in Texas in 2015, 72% of domestic violence victims in Texas are female. Most offenders fit the description of a young male between the ages of 25 and 29.
Does Intimidation Count as Domestic Violence?
Many victims mistakenly believe they cannot bring criminal charges against the perpetrator because the abuse hasn’t yet escalated to physical violence. You should know that threats of violence and restrictions of movement are criminal behaviors punishable under Texas law.
Physical violence is often just the tip of the iceberg in abusive relationships. These relationships often include unhealthy patterns like controlling behaviors, pathological jealousy, or withholding finances. A victim married to a perpetrator may seek to avoid violent injury in the future by seeking a divorce even if they have not yet experienced any physical abuse.
Can I Get a Temporary or Permanent Restraining Order?
Suppose you can show that your abuser presents a clear and present danger of violence to yourself or your child(ren). In that case, you may be able to secure a type of restraining order called a temporary protective order, also known as an ex parte protective order. A judge can issue this without a hearing or first questioning the abuser, and it can provide up to 20 days for you to secure a safe environment away from your abuser.
A temporary protective order may be extended for an additional 20 days, and you can also request a two-year final protective order through a hearing before the temporary order expires.
What Implications Does Domestic Violence Have for Divorce in Texas?
If your spouse has been violent towards you or your child, this can affect your divorce in various ways. Cruelty can be grounds for divorce in Texas if it makes living together insupportable. Domestic violence may allow you to pursue a divorce more quickly than the standard 60-day waiting period for the finalization of divorce in situations where there is no violence in the relationship.
Your spouse's history of domestic violence can affect child custody, spousal maintenance, and community property division. An experienced divorce attorney in Texas can help you to strategize and build your divorce case. Understand that violence can escalate once the abused files for divorce, so if you are still living with or interacting with your abusive spouse, you need to physically remove yourself from that situation before they are served with divorce papers.
Should I File Charges For Domestic Violence?
If you have been the victim of domestic violence, then you may have cause to file criminal charges against the abuser. However, similar to filing for divorce, the news that you may file or have filed criminal charges could lead to additional violence or threats towards you.
It is, therefore, vital that you remove yourself from the abuser to avoid dangerous retaliation. If you are married to your abuser, you no doubt also have questions about what filing criminal charges would mean for your divorce. Speak with an experienced domestic violence lawyer to discuss the next steps you should take, and consider your safety first if you are in an immediately dangerous situation.
Contact Kimbrough Legal, PLLC, to Work With an Experienced Domestic Violence Divorce Attorney in Austin, TX
If you suffer abuse from a spouse, intimate partner, or family member, please know there is a way out. Instead of searching for “domestic violence attorney near me” or “divorce attorney near me,” contact Kimbrough Legal, PLLC in Austin, TX. Our team will help you create a legal action plan, escape domestic abuse, and protect your rights as you rebuild your life. If you are married to your abuser, your spouse’s violence has various implications that can strengthen your position in your Texas divorce case.
Call Kimbrough Legal, PLLC, at 833-553-4251 today to schedule a strategy session or fill out the form on our website. We work daily to help people seeking a divorce in Texas, many of whom have suffered from domestic violence. We understand your experience, and we welcome your call. Kimbrough Legal: Managing the Present, Securing the Future.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
Kimbrough Legal, PLLC
5920 W. William Cannon Dr., Bldg 3, Ste 400
Austin, TX 78749