Family violence is a complex and often misunderstood issue that affects countless individuals and families across Australia. Survivors of family violence can experience not only physical harm but also emotional and psychological suffering as a result of their experiences. If you or a loved one are being affected by family violence, know that there are services that can assist you. Seeking help can be scary and difficult, but it can also help you more than you know. Family violence lawyers serve as advocates, allies, and protectors of those experiencing family violence, helping survivors navigate the legal complexities of escaping unsafe situations. There are several ways in which a family lawyer can improve your circumstances.
How a Family Lawyer Can Help You if You Experience Family Violence
In cases of family violence, there are many ways in which a family lawyer can help you. If you need to go to court for any reason, for example, a family lawyer can aid you in presenting a strong case. This might involve collecting official records, such as police statements and medical evidence. You may even need personal documents, like letters or photos. As difficult as it may be, you will likely need to provide a detailed account of what occurred between yourself and the family member in question. Witnesses can also be useful for corroborating your story. Essentially, family lawyers are experts in determining the most important and effective pieces of evidence available, helping the court make an informed decision.
Intervention & Interim Intervention Orders
A family lawyer can help you obtain an intervention order, which is an order made by the court in response to reports of family violence. By establishing several conditions, this order restricts the extent to which certain individuals can interact with other individuals or groups of people. These restrictions are put in place to protect victims of domestic and family violence. They aim to stop perpetrators of violence from gaining access to the people they may seek to harm. If the terms of the intervention order are broken, the individual in violation of these terms can be charged with a criminal offence. If you require immediate protection, a family lawyer can also assist you in getting an interim intervention order. This provides victims of family violence with protection until both parties can appear in court.
Family lawyers are also trained to assist families with child/parenting arrangements and child support. These processes can be quite complicated emotionally, and this complication is exacerbated even further by instances of family violence. A family lawyer can help you navigate the tricky waters of parenting arrangements, and advise you on how to resolve custody disputes via mediation, negotiation and counselling. It should be noted that family lawyers always prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children above all else. They do whatever they can to safeguard children from harm and abuse, considering not only their present needs but their future needs as well. Furthermore, in instances where two parents cannot come to an agreement, a Family Court Order may be required. Family lawyers can assist in this situation by providing guidance through the legal process and representing you in court.
Financial Agreements & Property Settlements
Financial agreements and property settlements allow individuals to better separate themselves from their ex-partners. Processes like these can be very useful for people experiencing family violence, although it is often difficult for individuals to achieve their desired outcomes. A financial agreement is a binding agreement that outlines exactly how assets and liabilities are to be divided at the end of a relationship. This agreement can be made at any point before, during or after the relationship. Similarly, a property settlement is an agreement made between parties on how to divide assets, liabilities and finances. This agreement is made after a relationship has ended. Within the context of an abusive relationship, it’s unlikely that negotiating these things will be easy. Fortunately, a family lawyer can assist you in fighting for what you want and achieving a just and equitable outcome.
Connecting You to Resources
While a family lawyer’s primary responsibilities include advocating for you and advising you on what to do, they should also be able to connect you with helpful resources. These include support services such as housing and counsellors, which will help get you through the difficult process of fighting for your safety, rights and autonomy.
Finding Your Family Violence Lawyer
Finding and settling on a family violence lawyer can be difficult. The truth is that every instance of family violence is different and needs to be dealt with in a slightly different way. Consequently, not every family violence lawyer will be best suited to tackle the specific issues relevant to your situation. To find the lawyer who is, there are a few simple questions you can ask yourself:
1. Do They Specialise in the Right Areas?
When choosing a family violence lawyer, feel free to enquire into their professional experience. If they have previously dealt with family violence cases that are similar to your own, they are likely going to be more successful in handling your case. Furthermore, if you specifically need assistance with property settlements or parenting arrangements, it’s a good idea to choose a lawyer who knows how to manage these exact processes. Things will run more smoothly if you know what you want from the outset and find a lawyer who meets your individual needs.
2. Are You Comfortable With Them?
Depending on your circumstances, you might have to spend quite a bit of time with your family lawyer. They will be providing support and advice as you cope with the complexities of family law. During this time, you’ll need support from someone who makes you feel at ease. You’ll need to feel comfortable being honest with them and disclosing personal information as they require it. It’s important that you feel respected rather than judged, as safety and security will help you adapt to the emotional fallout of family law.
3. Are They Honest With You?
As important as it is that your family lawyer is kind and empathetic, it’s even more important that they are honest and realistic. A family lawyer who is willing to dig into the nitty-gritties of the case is going to be more capable of getting the results you desire. You may be faced with some hard truths, but it is better to be prepared than naive. If you get the sense that your lawyer may be sugar-coating the realities of your case, feel free to walk away and find someone more suitable.
Where To Begin?
If you’re not sure where to start, you can always chat to the family violence lawyers at Duffy & Simon. With over 40 years of experience, we’ve dealt with all kinds of cases and understand the unique complexities and challenges that come with every instance of family violence. Our friendly and approachable lawyers are trained to advocate for our clients and achieve the best possible outcomes for survivors. Reach out to us today to learn more about what we can do to help. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger please contact the police on 000.