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Domestic Violence Dealing with abuse and violence. Getting support and help.

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Old 09-14-2009, 03:02 PM
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Default Family Court vs Criminal Court?

I asked my lawyer to file "with abuse." She didn't want to, but finally did, but procrastinated so the divorce was not finalized until after the 1 year mark so we no longer have the option to prove abuse in family court. Thus, if I want to prove abuse, it will need to be done in criminal court. That shouldn't be too difficult because I have several years of online journals, my counselor of 7 years has taken notes, and for the attack that ended the marriage are emergency room and two MD notes with X-rays help prove the physical part of the abuse.

Ex won't answer his lawyer's e-mails, voice mails or certified letters. He hasn't given anything towards discovery so the lawyers can try to make a settlement. He didn't show up at court. The judge granted the divorce with a 31 day waiting period that was final yesterday. The judge said since the lawyers can't get the ex to work towards a settlement, then it has been removed from the lawyer's hands and the judge will determine the settlement. My lawyer says this is probably in my best financial interest. Ex kept 95% of the furniture, 95% of housewares, my piano, even kept my birth certificate and some other legal documents. My lawyer had to fight several months to get my passports (I'm a dual citizen).

My lawyer said ex would probably lose the home as his retirement income won't be adequate to refinance to include my portion of the equity. I have talked to the police about my concerns and they said since I haven't pressed criminal charges, that there is nothing they can do. They will send an e-mail to each constable, so they can have a plan of action just in case he would come after me when he loses the home.

I still haven't decided if I'm strong enough emotionally and physically to press criminal charges - although there is no statute of limitations. I was hoping to get the divorce and the settlement done and then decide if I want to press charges. Biggest concern is the criminal court is so small that I could stand in the witness box and easily spit on him - a bit too close for mental comfort. I don't know if I could testify with him that close or if I'd just fall into a heap of anguish.

Has anybody pressed criminal charges? Was it worth it? After the trauma of finding he had a girlfriend, the abuse when I confronted, the time in a women's shelter, starting life over at age 58, going back to work to survive, discovering I'm very sick... how do you know if you have the strength to go through a criminal case? I often wonder where I get the strength to go through each day and I can't imagine compounding that with a criminal case. My church said if I decide to press charges that they will stand by me every step of the way - from going to the police to press charges to holding my and in court and after-care when the hearing is over.

Did anybody file for divorce "with abuse" - if so, how was that for you?

Thanks for your information and input.

Hephzibah
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