Domestic violence has become a hot topic in recent years. With more information about abusers and the abused society is more aware of this once behind closed doors epidemic. With the rise in concern for domestic violence victims has come another problem: the abuse of the domestic violence system.
Why is the system abused? It really arises from the emergency nature of domestic violence cases. If a person claims to be abused the person can go to court and apply for what is known as an ex parte order. This is an order that is granted without a court hearing just based on the allegations made in the complaint. After a person obtains an ex parte order then the alleged abuser is served and given a hearing anywhere from 10-20 days thereafter. This doesn’t sound like a big deal but in actual practice it becomes a tool that people use in domestic relations litigation.
Here is how the abuse works. One spouse claims domestic violence and obtains a restraining order. Regardless of whether true or not, the ex parte order is entered and served on the alleged abuser. At that time, the alleged abuser is removed from the house and is denied access to the children. Thereafter, when a hearing occurs in 10-20 days the person making the allegations may not even show up to the hearing, but…the damage has already been done. One spouse is given the house, the children and no contact while the other person is removed from the house and the children’s lives without a hearing. This is how the system gets abused.