Divorce is not an easy process, but it is far more challenging when there is extreme animosity between the parties. Stress, emotions, and resentment can even lead to false or exaggerated claims of domestic violence, and the effects on your case are significant. Not only are certain acts criminal, but there is also the South Carolina domestic violence injunction process that exists to protect victims. As a petitioner, your spouse can go to court and get a restraining order against you without providing notice of the proceeding. The first you know about the matter is when a police officer knocks on your door and serves you with the order of protection.
It seems unfair that a court could issue such an order when you were not given official notice and the opportunity to defend yourself. The situation is frustrating, especially when the allegations are false. Still, it is critical to stay level-headed until you do get your day in court. Your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome increase when you have a Charleston domestic violence lawyer on your side but some additional tips include:
Review Important Paperwork:
The documents served to you by an officer are an excellent source of information, and one important detail is the date of the next hearing. A second critical detail in your documentation is the court’s order on what you must do and what you must refrain from doing. The order of protection is like a private law that applies to you, so it may:
- Prohibit contact with the petitioner;
- Bar you from the petitioner’s home, office, or school; and,
- Not allow you to exercise child custody and visitation rights set by the divorce court.
Strictly Comply with All Terms:
It is essential that you follow the conditions stated in the restraining order to the letter. There are criminal penalties for breaking the law, including possible jail time. Plus, you can expect that a protective order will be addressed by the judge handling your divorce. The court will not judge you solely based upon allegations by the petitioner, but there may be implications if you violate the order itself.
Prepare for the Next Hearing:
When a judge issues a restraining order on an emergency basis, the court must hold a follow-up proceeding that allows you to present your side of things. This is your chance to defeat any false allegations and defend yourself, so preparation is necessary. As such:
Collect any evidence that could form a defense, such as texts or other messages from the petitioner.
Be respectful, calm, and confident in court.
Dress professionally for the hearing to show that you are serious about defending yourself.
Get in Touch with a South Carolina Domestic Violence Attorney Right Away
A restraining order is a very serious matter, and it can carry significant implications for a divorce case. The Peck Law Firm is dedicated to protecting your rights, so please call 843.631.7117 or go online today. We can set up a no-cost phone or Zoom consultation to discuss strategy.