When the person who made an oath to love and to hold you until death is suddenly abusing you, it is normal to refuse to believe it at first. However, denial will cause more harm than good. Acts of violence may start as minor pushing and shoving, then progress to assault and battery. Abuse can also be emotional and psychological. Once an abuser realizes they can manipulate you, they may take control over your life and force you to lose your autonomy.
Victims of domestic violence find it hard to leave because their abuser may manipulate them to fear that life will be worse without them. You may worry that your abusive spouse will retaliate by harming you or your children. You should know your fears are reasonable, and you have options for legal protection in Georgia.
Legal protection for domestic violence victims
Domestic violence or family violence in Georgia is not limited to assault and battery. It could also be damage to property, stalking, unlawful restraint and criminal trespassing. If you have reason to believe that you or your children are in immediate danger, then you can file a petition for a temporary protective order (TPO) and request for temporary sole custody. The family violence protective order can legally prevent your spouse from having any contact with you.
A TPO should protect you until your scheduled hearing, where the court will decide whether you need a long-term family violence protective order. Your spouse does not need to know about your petition. However, a judge has the authority to approve or deny it. Therefore, you may want to get legal guidance on how to proceed with temporary orders before filing, especially since you will need to appear in court for a permanent order.
How divorce can help you
The fear, stress and anxiety from the abuse can cause irreparable psychological damage the longer you allow it to continue. Although you may be afraid to divorce your spouse, you should know that their wrongdoings against you can give you leverage in court. The court will consider family violence when dividing marital property fairly and making awards of spousal support and child custody.
You have an opportunity to save yourself from constant pain and suffering. It will be a long journey, but with the right legal help, you and your children can have a better future.