Gresham Domestic Violence Lawyers
Protecting the Abused & the Accused
Unfortunately, it is common for arguments to become heated and even physical in an intimate relationship. Don’t be ashamed if this happens to you, and be aware that the abuser will often attempt to make you feel as if the violence is your fault or you desire the punishment. Often, as a victim of domestic abuse, you don’t know who to turn to, or what legal protections are available. If you are afraid for your safety, first contact law enforcement by dialing 911. Then, contact one of our Gresham domestic violence attorneys to assist you in gaining freedom and safety from those who are attempting to control you through physical, verbal, or financial intimidation.
Whether you are suffering domestic violence at the hands of a spouse or you have been accused of committing violence against a family member, it is crucial that you act quickly to protect yourself and prevent further harm. Let our experienced family law attorneys provide the legal guidance and representation you need in this challenging time.
Family Abuse Protection Act
When faced with violence or threats of violence, it is important to know there are laws available in Oregon for your protection. The Family Abuse Protection Act (FAPA) can quickly prevent further contact and abuse from a violent partner, family member, or spouse. If you obtain a FAPA order, your partner is not allowed to contact you except under specific circumstances. Violating the order can subject him or her to immediate arrest. Of course, there are limited reasons when a court will award you a FAPA order.
If you are the victim of domestic abuse, we strongly encourage you to contact law enforcement and our team at GFBL. Although “self-help” forms are provided by the State Court, this is an important step and you may wish to have specific questions answered before you file. Remember, you must request a FAPA order within 180 days of the incident. One of our Gresham domestic violence lawyers can help you complete the necessary paperwork required to obtain a restraining order (FAPA order). This may be the first step in providing a safe environment for you and your children.
What Is a Restraining Order?
A restraining order is a protective order that may be available in domestic violence situations. Restraining orders (ROs) are obtained ex-parte (where there is only one party before the judge).
A judge can issue a restraining order if he or she finds that:
- A domestic relationship existed between the parties
- The person seeking the RO has experienced violence
- The person seeking the RO has a valid reason to fear future harm
After the alleged abuser is served (formerly notified) of the RO, he/she has the option to request a hearing. The RO is effective immediately and is in force unless dismissed by a judge. Requesting a hearing within 30 days is the only chance you may have to oppose the RO. If you do not request a hearing, the RO is automatically effective for one year. If the order affects your right to see your children, that provision of the order can be challenged at any time the order is in effect. You have a right to have an attorney for this hearing.
Restraining Order Defense
If you have been served with a FAPA order or restraining order, review it carefully and be sure to follow it to the letter. A violation of the order can subject you to immediate arrest, even if the order is later found to be unwarranted.
Remember that a FAPA order is issued by the court to the alleged victim without hearing your side of the story. While no amount of violence in a relationship is acceptable, it is possible that the allegations made against you are incorrect or inaccurate. You will need to prepare diligently to provide correct facts or accurate context to the allegations to help a judge decide whether you are an ongoing threat to the petitioner’s safety. You have the right to request a hearing one time and defend yourself against allegations of abuse.
FAPA orders can impact your right to custody of your children and your right to own firearms. The order permanently remains in the public records and can be reviewed by future employers. While a FAPA order was designed to protect victims, there are incidents when a FAPA order may be misused. You only have a limited time in which you can challenge the order and request to have it dismissed or set aside. If the set amount of time passes, only the alleged victim can dismiss the order.
If a FAPA order limits your time with your children, the parenting time may be revisited during the term of the FAPA order but continues to limit when you can see or contact your children until it is challenged. If there are no other orders in place, it can act as temporary custody of your children. If you have questions about a FAPA order that has been issued against you, contact one of our lawyers to assist you in deciding whether to challenge the order.
Representing Clients with Care & Compassion
At GFBL, we represent both the victims and the alleged perpetrators of family violence. Our domestic abuse attorneys in Gresham have decades of combined experience handling these sensitive and serious cases. We are ready to help you take the next step to protect your safety or your rights.
Get the protection or representation you need by calling GFBL at (503) 470-2230.