Divorce is often complex, but domestic violence exacerbates that even more. You probably did not marry your spouse thinking things would get abusive. Whether that abuse is bodily harm, a threat that has you in fear of your life or the mental injury of a child of yours, it is all real abuse.
There are solutions in Maryland that affect your immediate safety as well as the long-term decisions around child custody.
Are you eligible?
If you feel you or your child is vulnerable or in danger, you may appeal at your county district court for an order. If the judge finds that the situation merits it, he or she may issue a temporary protective order.
How does it help?
Once the courts issue a protective order, law enforcement informs your spouse — known as the respondent in these cases. The order stipulates any details necessary to ensure safety from that point up to the formal hearing to see if a longer order is necessary.
According to Maryland statute, an interim order like this may award temporary custody of children and order the respondent out of the house. The courts may award you sole use of your home for the duration.
What about divorce?
Protective orders may create enough breathing room to get divorce proceedings underway. When the question of child custody comes up, Maryland courts consider the best interests of the children involved. In the case of past domestic abuse, protective orders may help reinforce the idea that a split custody decision is not in a child’s best interest.
When ensuring your safety or the safety of your child, speedy action is key. But knowing what to expect and researching these options further may help you throughout a rocky divorce.