Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Coming up in October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. There are a number of programs available to help victims of domestic violence, including Family Justice Centers in both Montgomery and Prince George’s County. In Maryland, a victim of abuse can obtain a protective order 24 hours a day from the District Court Commissioner. This would be an interim order, which would require a hearing for a temporary order shortly thereafter. To obtain a final protective order, the petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that one or more specified acts of violence were committed.

It is very important to have all the witnesses and evidence, like photographs, available for the hearing. Having an attorney at the final protective order hearing can help to ensure that the evidence is admissible, in other words, that the judge can properly consider it. This can be tricky to do without an attorney. If you are the Respondent, who is accused of committing an act of violence, it is also vital to have representation. There is not much time to prepare, and the consequences can be quite severe as it can impact custody, financial support and even who will be permitted to live in the home.

For many victims of domestic violence, obtaining a final protective order is really the first step in the process, which may also involve filing for divorce, custody or financial support depending on the circumstances. Any order you get will eventually expire, so you will want to seek more permanent relief before that happens.

For more information on Family Law, please contact Heather L. Sunderman at (301) 664-7710 or hlsunderman@mirskylawgroup.com.

 Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or to provide legal advice. Laws differ by state and jurisdiction. The information on this blog may not apply to every reader. You should not take any legal action based upon the information contained on this blog without first seeking professional counsel. Your use of the blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Mirsky Law Group, LLC.

What is Therapeutic Visitation?

You may have heard reports about the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie divorce and custody case. News sources have reported about domestic violence allegations against Brad Pitt. And it appears that the parties’ negotiated agreement includes therapeutic visitation for Pitt. Therapeutic visitation can be ordered when there is estrangement or alienation between the child and a parent. There are many different reasons why this can happen: parental interference, abuse or other mental health issues which cause the child to refuse visitation. The child may be justified in his mistrust, or may have had an unreasonable reaction to a parent. Regardless of parental fault, the courts must deal with the situation as it is, and attempts to repair the broken relationship must be made. Visitation sessions may then take place with a mental health professional. These are very difficult situations and typically would require counsel for both parents and navigating the reunification process. The cost can also be substantial as the court may be scheduling intermittent hearings during this process as well as the cost of having an expert mental health professional working with the family. The court may also order psychological examinations of the parents and/or child in these cases.

-Heather L. Sunderman, Esq.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or to provide legal advice. Laws differ by state and jurisdiction. The information on this blog may not apply to every reader. You should not take any legal action based upon the information contained on this blog without first seeking professional counsel. Your use of the blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Mirsky Law Group, LLC.