Domestic violence can be brought both as a criminal and/or civil case. Criminal cases are filed against a defendant by law enforcement. In a civil context cases are typically brought by a family member or the Department of Children and Family Services. Pursuant to the Domestic Abuse Prevention Act a family member can seek temporary or permanent restraining orders against another family member. In a Dependency Court action brought by the Department of Children and Family Services, parental rights can be altered or terminated so as to protect minor children. As an example, either spouse in a divorce action can allege acts of domestic violence against the other spouse or the couple’s children. Domestic violence acts include physical, verbal or emotional abuse, or any other conduct that can be considered harassment. As stated above, such allegations can result in criminal proceedings, dependency proceedings or civil proceedings.
Domestic violence allegations can trigger impacts upon the individual’s life including but not limited to some of the following:
- An order to move out of his/her home
- An order prohibiting personal movement or travel (i.e., children’s school or spouse’s place of work)
- An order prohibiting or limiting child visitation
- An order altering or terminating parental rights
- An order affecting the payment or receipt of child and spousal support
- An order to pay various family expenses
- An order forcing you to pay the other party’s attorney fees
- An order imposing a jail sentence, fines, or both
- An order prohibiting your continued possession of firearms
Given the interaction between the various forums in which Domestic Abuse actions can be brought, legal representation requires an attorney both versed and experienced in all four arenas, criminal, family, civil and dependency such that each can be addressed and considered so as to insure the most advantageous and efficient way to guard against the adverse consequences resulting from such allegations.
Attorney Larry Bakman has both the experience and litigation history in all four of these arenas to represent an individual accused of Domestic Violence. As a recent example, Mr. Bakman successfully represented a husband falsely accused of spousal and child abuse in Family Court avoiding the issuance of a domestic violence restraining order. Recognizing and understanding the interaction between Family, Criminal and Dependency, Mr. Bakman effectively negated the wife’s allegations such that both law enforcement and the Department of Children and Family Services chose not to file any additional charges in either the Criminal Justice System or the Dependency Court System.