If you live in Washington and are considering divorce in connection with domestic violence issues, you will want to make sure that you clearly understand the laws that are relevant to your case before you file a petition in court. Especially if you are a parent concerned about your children’s well-being, their safety is always the number one priority. Requesting a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) may be a viable option.
If the court issues a DVPO, it can provide protection and reduce the likelihood of confrontation as you navigate divorce proceedings. It is not a magic solution, meaning that having a protection order does not automatically stop an abusive person from trying to commit abuse. However, it does order the abuser to stay away from you or your children, which may help improve safety.
Rules that apply in Washington
To request a protection order from a Washington court, you must live or work in the state. It is also necessary for at least one instance of abuse to have occurred in Washington before a judge in this district will issue a protective order. Once you have the order in place, however, it is enforceable by law in all states.
What if the abuser is not your ex but is your ex’s partner?
Maybe you are going through a divorce and there is evidence that your ex’s partner is abusive toward your children. You may be able to secure a DVPO against that person. If you believe that your ex is aware of the situation and is doing nothing to protect your kids, then you might want to consider seeking sole child custody.
In such cases, the court will want to know why you do not want to share custody with your ex. The court always has children’s safety and well-being in mind when making child custody decisions in a divorce. If you can show evidence that your ex is placing your children at risk, the court may decide to rule in your favor.
Seeking additional support regarding domestic violence and divorce
Children who witness one parent being abusive toward the other often experience intense emotional trauma. Children who are directly abused themselves by a parent may not only have a difficult time coping with divorce but in functioning in their daily lives as well. There are many local resources available to provide support to parents who want to help their kids process their emotions and move on in life in a safe and healthy environment.