Pittsburgh Domestic Violence Lawyer
Complications with many family matters increase due to domestic violence. Frequently, situations involving domestic violence can arise from misunderstandings that get out of control.
Whether you are accused of domestic violence or you’re the victim, you need an experienced Pittsburgh domestic violence lawyer on your side. We are here to listen to your side of the story and vigorously represent your rights in court.
Call Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC today at (412) 471-5100 to find out how a domestic violence lawyer can help you through this challenging situation.
“I work with clients every day who need help with complex legal issues. I want to create a bridge between the law and their goals.”
What is Domestic Violence?
The term “domestic violence” covers a wide range of behavior and/or abuse. Legally, domestic violence is knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly causing bodily injury or fear of bodily injury or consciously engaging in repetitive conduct toward a specific person that makes them fear bodily injury.
Acts of domestic violence may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Sexual abuse
- Sexual abuse of a minor
If you are the victim of or have been accused of these acts, you need experienced legal representation to ensure you are protected in court. Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC has Pittsburgh domestic lawyers who understand the complexities involved in family dispute matters.
Spousal abuse is also domestic violence. It occurs when one or both partners in a marriage engage in the following types of abuse:
In many cases, the abuser is trying to control the victim and exert power over them.
Spousal abuse often develops over time. It is manifested as a pattern of abusive behavior toward the spouse that may or may not had already begun before the marriage began. Abuse is rarely isolated and usually escalates in frequency and severity.
False accusations of spousal abuse are often made when one person is seeking to cover up a cheating situation or is attempting to get an at-fault divorce. It can be hard to defend against accusations of spousal abuse, so you should immediately call an attorney who knows how to handle these situations.
What Victims of Domestic Violence Should Know
Domestic violence is a pervasive problem. Roughly 1.3 million women are physically assaulted by a partner each year. A growing number of men are also victimized by domestic abusers, although these cases are often underreported.
Domestic violence hotlines across the country take in thousands of calls every day to provide victims with the resources they need to leave.
Victims Worry About Losing their Children
One factor that often keeps abuse victims from reaching out for help is the fear of losing their children. It’s true that family court is not always friendly to abuse victims.
If the judge believes that a victim exposed their children to an unsafe environment by staying in an abusive relationship, they may doubt the victim’s ability to parent. This puts an unfair burden on abuse victims, who often cannot leave for financial or safety reasons.
Victims Often Worry About Others Doubting Them
Furthermore, people seeking help for domestic violence often worry about others doubting their claims. Abusers can be very good at putting on a friendly face in public and reserving their anger and violence for their families.
When someone well-respected or well-liked in the community is accused of violence, it’s not uncommon for the victim’s word to be questioned. Again, this puts the victim in fear of losing their children.
How a Pittsburgh Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help Victims
The first step is to reach out to a Pittsburgh domestic violence attorney to help you through the family court system. They can help you file a PFA order. A protection from abuse order allows victims to protect themselves and their minor children from abuse, harassment, and unwanted contact.
From there, you can work with your Pittsburgh domestic violence lawyer to protect your role as a parent and create a plan for your family law case. They can help you fight for child custody and limit your contact with your abuser.
You must work with a Pittsburgh violence victim lawyer throughout this process. Doing so can prevent further victimization in the courtroom and give you space to heal from everything you have experienced.
Filing a PFA
A Protection from Abuse request may be filed at the Allegheny County Family and Juvenile Court facility, located at 440 Ross St., Pittsburgh, PA, in Room 3030. They are accepted between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on weekdays. You should arrive as soon as possible to get it processed quickly. Your attorney can help you through this process.
How a Domestic Violence Charge or Conviction Could Affect Your Family Law Case
Those accused of domestic violence may not yet know everything at stake. Not only are you facing potential criminal charges, but you may also find that the accusations against you put you in a losing position in family court.
If the victim can convince the court that they are in danger of abuse or have been abused, they can get a PFA for domestic violence against you. This order may prevent you from contacting them, limit your contact with any minor children you share, and even force you to give up your firearms. While you do get the chance to defend yourself at a final hearing, you will face incredible odds.
How a Pittsburgh Domestic Violence Lawyer Can Help the Accused
Many people accused of domestic abuse do not realize how important it is to get a family law attorney right away. They may believe that truth is the absolute defense and that if they can tell their side of the story to the judge, they will not face any negative consequences.
However, innocent people lose child custody, and PFAs restrict them regularly. Without an attorney who has an in-depth knowledge of PA domestic violence laws, it is extremely easy to implicate yourself and weaken your legal position.
A Domestic Violence Conviction Could Affect Child Custody
Consider the ways that a domestic violence conviction could change your family court case. If the alleged victim can demonstrate that you are a danger to them or your children, you may lose custody altogether or be restricted to supervised visits.
A Conviction Could Affect Your Entire Life
If domestic violence charges cause you to lose your job, you could not meet your support obligations and face further issues in family court. If you lose custody, the other parent may have grounds to move away with your children.
What You Need To Know About Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence laws in Pennsylvania can be complicated. You need someone who understands the legal issues and can clearly and concisely explain what you need to know about your case. We will guide you through the court process and help you obtain the outcome in your best interests.
We can help with a variety of issues involved with domestic violence, including:
If you are in a situation where a protection order becomes necessary, you need someone to navigate the legal issues involved quickly. Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC can help you protect yourself in a complex situation.
False Accusations of Domestic Violence
A false accusation of domestic violence can have severe consequences for everyone involved. Let us represent your rights in court.
Consequences of Domestic Violence Accusations
Domestic violence can result in severe consequences, including jail time, restitution, and sometimes unexpected collateral repercussions. An experienced Pittsburgh domestic violence lawyer can help you understand all of the consequences of a domestic violence accusation.
How Domestic Violence Can Affect Divorce and Custody Proceedings
The implications of domestic violence do not end in a single hearing on the matter. Consequences can affect divorce and custody proceedings as well. Contact a family lawyer with experience in these matters today.
Resources for Victims of Abuse in Pittsburgh
If you are a victim of domestic violence or abuse in Pittsburgh, the following organizations can help.
- Neighborhood Legal Services
- Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh
- RUSafe App
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Elder Abuse Prevention
- LGBT National Help Center
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Domestic Violence FAQs
Do I Need an Attorney for a Domestic Violence Case?
You are not required to hire a private attorney for your domestic violence case, but doing so can give you peace of mind. Your attorney can act as a barrier between yourself and the court, and your abuser.
How Much Will a Domestic Violence Attorney Cost?
Most attorneys charge hourly, but they minimize costs by utilizing legal staff to help complete some back-end work. In some cases, you may be able to get your legal fees covered by your abuser.
How Long Does It Take to Get a PFA?
You can usually get a Temporary Protection from Abuse the same day or within 24 to 48 hours if it takes longer to get it in front of a judge.
It’s essential to complete the proper paperwork with all necessary information and have it for the courthouse early in the morning. Permanent PFA hearings occur within ten days of your Temporary PFA Order.
What Should I Do If I’m Afraid to Go Home?
You should access the resources listed above, contact an attorney, and go to a shelter. Do not tell anyone where you and your children are going. Only take what you need. Turn your phone off. Wait for the court to issue a PFA to protect you in this situation.