Domestic violence involves a cruel pattern of abusive behavior used by an individual to gain or maintain control over another person with whom they live. Victims of domestic violence can feel powerless against their abuser. As a victim, you know the best thing for you to do is leave your abusive spouse, but some barriers may prevent you from filing for divorce.
The fear of escalating violence and concerns about financial security may force you to stay married to your abuser. You may also worry about the well-being of your children and the uncertainty of your future. These fears are completely understandable, but you have rights and options that can protect you and offer a path forward.
Legal protection against your abuser
When you decide to end the cycle of abuse, the legal system has provisions to protect you. You can approach the courthouse to file a petition for a protection order. You will need to provide details regarding the abuse and explain why you need protection.
You can immediately request a Temporary Protection Order (TPO), which a court may issue on the same day if it deems you are in immediate danger. When you file for a TPO, you can request that the order include provisions for the safety and welfare of your children. You can include stipulations that prevent the abuser from coming near them, contacting them or removing them from their current environment. During the process of obtaining a TPO, it is essential to clearly communicate to the court the necessity of extending protection to your children. Providing specific details about the threat or harm to the children will help the court understand the urgency and scope of protection required.
The TPO will protect you until the hearing for a permanent order. Once the TPO is in place, it is enforceable by law, and any violation by the abuser can lead to legal consequences. The hearing will follow, typically within two weeks, to decide if the protection order should become permanent. It is crucial to attend this hearing and to prepare any evidence you have of the abuse. If the judge is convinced of the need for ongoing protection, they will issue a Permanent Protection Order (PPO), which can last indefinitely or for a specific period.
Financial security for your future
In Colorado, all your marital property is subject to an equitable property division. The court may award you much more than an equal share for all the pain and suffering you endured at the hands of your abusive spouse. The court may even order your former spouse to pay for child support and alimony. It is only fair, after all the damages you suffered.
No one should have to tolerate abuse and violence. With the right help, you can get through this and look forward to a future focused on healing.