The ending of a relationship is often a difficult, stressful and time consuming process. Such matters can be made worse if domestic violence occurs between the partners. This year in Connecticut there has been an increase in fatal domestic violence cases. This increase has led some to consider if such situations would have had different outcomes if the abused had been more aware of his or her legal rights.
Fatal Domestic Violence Cases in Connecticut
The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence recently reported that in the last three months, Connecticut has seen an increase in domestic violence occurring between spouses and other similarly intimate partners. In a typical year in Connecticut, there is an average of about 14 domestic violence homicides that occur. However a murder-suicide that occurred in Bristol recently was the 8th domestic violence homicide that occurred in 2014. In this case, it was revealed that a woman had filed for divorce five days before the murder-suicide involving her and her husband. In May, an Oxford man was arrested for murdering his wife, who had already filed a partial restraining order against her killer. A theme has arisen in these domestic violence homicides, which are typically characterised by acts of violence following the attempt of one spouse to leave the home and the relationship. In both the above cases, children were present at the homes where the domestic violence homicides occurred.
One cannot help but to wonder if such tragic endings would not have occurred if the victims had been able to reach out for help and protection. However, the reality is that Connecticut’s current anti-domestic violence community has had difficulties with responding to the high demand for domestic violence relief shelters and other forms of housing. In March, it was reported that the 303 transitional housing and shelters in Connecticut were able to serve over 800 domestic violence victims and their families. However, during this time frame 98 victims were turned away from these anti-domestic violence shelters and forced to return to their violent homes.
The Legal Actions That Can Be Taken Against A Violent Partner
If you have decided to divorce an abusive spouse, or to end a relationship with an abusive partner, there as several things you can do in order to make the transition to singledom safe for you and your children.
First, you should begin to think of a strategy for where you and your children will live. However, be careful not to disclose this plan to your abusive spouse in order to avoid retribution. Some women find it better to remove themselves completely from the environment where the domestic violence occurred. In this situation you can plan to stay with family, find a new place to rent or buy, or check out the domestic violence shelters and transitional housing offered in Connecticut. Women are often advised not to tell their partner where they are moving, in order to prevent stalking and/or additional domestic violence.
If you plan on staying at the familial home, you should file a legal restraining order, no contact order or protective order. Such orders could legally prevent the abusive spouse from remaining at the home, and also prevent your spouse from contacting you and your children. The decision to file such orders is extremely scary for those who have been systematically abused. However, a legal order will provide legal protection against your spouse, acknowledgement that abuse has occurred, and could also serve as legal evidence in your divorce.
Ready to divorce an abusive spouse and need legal guidance? Contact the family law attorneys here at Greenberg & Krieger LLP in Fairfield County, Connecticut for professional assistance with filing for divorce, and entering restraining and protective orders.