Domestic Violence During the Coronavirus Pandemic
According to the New York Times, domestic violence is on the rise during the COVID-19 lockdown. Generally, divorce rates and domestic violence goes up whenever couples spend more time together, such as during Christmas and summer vacation. However, given our new reality that requires us to remain at home, it is natural for victims of domestic violence to feel trapped in their home with no other place to flee. The natural question one must ask is, what remedy is available for victims of domestic violence during these trying times?
Victims of domestic violence during the Coronavirus lockdown can visit the NYC Family Justice Center’s website for information and calling NYC’s 24-hour hotline. However, he or she will find that the best solution is to seek an order of protection from family court to prevent further abuse and harassment.
Who Can Apply for an Order of Protection in Family Court and What Must You Demonstrate?
Unlike in criminal court, in order for you to obtain an order of protection in family court, you must first demonstrate that you have a specific relationship with the aggressor as defined in the Family Court Act. More specifically, there must be an intimate relationship with the other person. For example, you can be current or former spouses, have a child together, or related by blood or marriage.
Secondly, you must prove that the other person committed at least one of the many family offense crimes as outlined in Article 8 of the Family Court Act. For example, some of the family offense crimes include, but not limited to, harassment, assault, attempted assault, menacing, stalking, strangulation, and forcible touching.
How to Obtain an Order of Protection in Family Court?
The victim of domestic violence must commence this process in family court by filing a family offense petition. To be successful in obtaining an order of protection, the victim must articulate within the petition specific allegations of the domestic violence and when and where those allegations occurred – in other words, the specific answers to “Who”; “What”; “Where”; “Why”; and “When”.
Also, you must prove that the other person committed certain crimes against you, such as harassment, assault, or menacing.
What Happens Next?
After the family offense petition is filed, the victim may request a temporary order of protection even if there is no proof yet that the Respondent committed any crimes. If the allegations stated in the petition are serious enough, you can request the court to exclude the aggressor from the home. For example, if an aggressor-spouse hits you or destroys personal property, the family court has the discretion to issue an order of protection to remove your spouse from the house.
You can also protect your children from your spouse by including them in the order of protection. To convince the family court to issue an order of protection on behalf of your children, the family offense petition must include allegations of domestic violence that transpired in the presence of the children. Even if your spouse did not physically abuse the children directly, domestic violence that occurs in front of the children causes anxiety and mental stress on the children.
Can I File a Petition in the Family Court During the COVID-19 Lockdown?
Although the family courts are operating on a virtual basis and only accepting emergency cases, victims of domestic violence can still file for orders of protection in family court during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the family court is conducting appearances on skype or over the phone. This includes hearings to determine if your spouse should be excluded from the home.
Contact My Office For a Free Consultation Regarding Obtaining an Order of Protection
The home should be a place of refuge. No one should have to suffer from domestic violence in their place of refuge, especially during the Coronavirus lockdown.
The Louis Law Firm, PLLC is committed to help those who are victims of domestic violence. If you wish to file for an order of protection in family court, or to discuss the possibility of obtaining an order of protection, call the Louis Law Firm at (347) 689-7562 to schedule a free in-depth telephone consultation.