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Should you get a restraining order?

Divorce is never an easy choice, but sometimes the parties realize that it is the best choice for all concerned. Other times, one party wants out while the other has no inclination that there are marital problems.

But there is one scenario when a divorce is definitely the best option — when one spouse is being abused by the other. Yet there are still issues to consider, and one is whether or not to request a protective order from the court.

Your family law attorney is a good source of information on this process, but below is some general information.

A protective, or "restraining" order is not a magical document you can wave at someone and take away their power to harm you. It is a simple piece of paper that prohibits an abuser from harming one's victim, but can actually do very little to stop actual violence.

In some cases, an enraged batterer served with a protective order can make him or her even more volatile. Research done in North Carolina indicated that getting protective orders or signing a warrant for an abuser's arrest was the primary precursor to murder/suicides when the victim was a female.

Each situation must be carefully weighed in light of the specific circumstances involved. A restraining order should always be a part of a well-organized plan to escape the cycle of violence and not something obtained on a whim.

If you are divorcing and feel that you may be in jeopardy, address this issue with your family law attorney so the two of you can come up with a safety plan that truly protects you.

Source: Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, "Should I Get a Restraining Order?," accessed March 02, 2016

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