One aspect of our Salt Lake City law practice is to help people who are in abusive relationships. These situations should be taken very seriously, as too often they spiral out of control and lead to unspeakable consequences.
Fear is a powerful emotion in the midst of domestic abuse, and you should heed your fear if you believe your spouse or partner is a threat to you or your children. Keep in mind that there are legal means of protecting yourself and your kids, and filing for a protective order is one way of keeping an abuser at bay.
Generally speaking, adults tend to be aware of what a protective order can do in an abusive relationship, but a protective order can do more than prohibit an abusive person from coming near you. Let us consider some of the other uses of protection orders.
Say you are in an abusive relationship, but you still need the family vehicle to take your children to school or daycare. An order of protection can lead to your temporary possession of a vehicle. Utah state law may also allow for the temporary possession of a residence or of particular pieces of property, all through a protective order.
This sort of legal action can also result in temporary child support and temporary child custody. There is no fee attached to filing for a protective order, but a person who seeks one will usually have to appear in court.
The stakes are high in these situations. In fact, a Utah Department of Health report from 2011 showed that 32 percent of Utah homicides were in some way linked to domestic violence. That same year, shelters saw more than 3,400 people, including women, men and children, trying to get protection and move away from an abuser.
No one has to wait for a divorce to be finalized to seek a protective order, and people who fear for their well-being or the well-being of their children would do well to explore their legal options for protection.