Men, here is some practical guidance to follow when educating yourself about domestic abuse. Most of the laws relevant to domestic violence and sexual assault are based on state law. This includes restraining or protection orders, divorce, custody, crimes, and more. There are also federal laws that may be relevant to your situation, including immigration and military laws. If you’re married, you will fall under the family law section of the court system.
If you’ve been verbally assaulted, hit, kicked, punched, slapped, manipulated, screamed at, demeaned or abused in any way, you might consider filing a domestic violence restraining order. Based on my research women file over 94% of all DVRO’s. It is to their advantage they file because it gives them temporary possession of the family residence, physical custody and parental rights of your children. It also portrays you as the abuser to the court, which isn’t good especially if you are innocent.
The court has to consider every DV order it receives. Once the court decides to grant a DV restraining order, the consequences against the opposing party are immediate and can be severe. The DV order is normally delivered by an officer of the law and is enforced immediately. The terms of the DV always include how far you must stay away from the other individual and the means by which the abuser can or cannot contact the protected party. There is always a distance requirement; this prevents the person named in the DV order from being at the same residence or in the same vicinity as the protected individual. This means no more school plays, little league games, or doctor visits with your kids if your spouse is involved. This also means you are now sleeping on a friend’s couch until the terms of the DV orders are changed or dropped. It is for this very reason that you want to be the first one to file a DV order if you know you have been abused.
You need to know, that if she files for a restraining order first it’s hard if not impossible to get out from under the guise that you are the abuser and therefore the one to experience the sanctions, penalties, and bias that exist within the family law system. Men rarely if ever file a DV order against their spouses, and that is a huge tactical mistake. You need to know over 85 percent of women file a DV order against their husbands and more than 50 percent of the time there is no actual abuse. Abuse can be Verbal, such as yelling, berating, and the like. Abuse is also Mental, Emotional and Physical. When in doubt ask an attorney. You might be so used to getting abused by your spouse that you don't even realize the impact it has had on you.
If you have an attorney he or she will coach you along and help you file a DV order. If your attorney refuses to file on your behalf for any reason, do it yourself. Every court has a self-help center that assists those who are representing themselves or otherwise known to be in pro per.
The advantages of filing a DVRO; filing a DV order will most always keep you in the house with the kids and keep her away temporarily or longer depending on the severity of the abuse allegation(s). You don’t need to be hit physically to be a victim of abuse. If she has been verbally abusive to you or the kids, make note of the frequency and duration and file for protection. Get a witness to write a letter to the court on your behalf or even appear with you during the DV hearing to give their eyewitness testimony. Be sure to bring pictures of your wounds, cuts, scrapes, bruises etc.
Once the DV order is granted, it sets up a domino effect that follows the predictable course that men have been experiencing for decades and unjustly so. Now that she is out of the house, you are in line to get physical custody of the children. So instead of you being kicked out of your house and removed from your children’s lives, she now occupies that space. She is now rightfully labeled as an abuser. If this was you, you might be labeled as unfit and someone not to be trusted and everything that the label "abuser" assumes. Historically this is how women have had the upper hand. It is coached to women from the minute they step into their attorney’s office. But, if you follow these steps you will have outsmarted the system and put yourself in a positive position.
Let’s review. The objective of filing a DVRO is that you (The Man) get to stay in your house with the kids, and by default get temporary physical custody, which means she must move out and away from you and your children. The spouse cannot play an active or daily role with your children. You protect your kids from the abusive behavior which is your responsibility as their parent. You gain temporary possession of anything that exists in the house. She is typically ordered to start paying support to you and support for the children if she is deemed to be in the position to do so financially. In the meantime, you have provided a safe environment for both you and your children.
If she files first and alleges wrongfully you are the abuser to the court and the court grants her a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) you are now deemed to be the abuser true or untrue. Now you pay, you move out and she typically has no obligation to pay any of the bills and collects your checks while you are living out of a suitcase and sleeping on your friend’s couch.
Stop being the macho man living in denial...File a DVRO today!