Domestic Violence, Guns, and Divorce: What to tell your Charleston Family Law Attorney.

Gun deaths resulting from domestic violence are higher in South Carolina than anywhere else in the United States. There are some things you and your lawyer can do to keep you safe, but without legislative action, many women are left at the mercy of an abuser.

It is common knowledge that gun deaths resulting from domestic violence are higher in South Carolina than just about anywhere else in the nation.  Most members of our legislature are corrupt and will only serve the interests of their wealthy campaign donors. They will do very little to keep us safe from gun violence unless or until there is serious reform of our political system. If you are a victim of domestic violence, or fear you may be, here are your options:

First, you need to figure out how to get in to see a Charleston Family Law Attorney without alerting the abuser. NEVER use your own cell phone or computer/ iPad to make search for an attorney or contact one. Your phone and other devices will show your call and search history, and your abuser will likely be monitoring your activity. Use a trusted friend’s device and, if you are so isolated you can not do this, go to the library. 

It is likely that you will have a difficult time getting out of the house to meet with a Charleston Family Law Attorney. Many of us will do consultations over the phone in the appropriate circumstances. If this is the case for you, find an attorney who will speak with you over the telephone and schedule the consultation.

If you can, leave the house as soon as you make a decision to separate. There are several organizations that exist to help victims of domestic violence in emergency situations, and in Charleston My Sister’s House is one of the more established and reliable. They are set up to work quickly and deal with emergency situations for your family.

If you have limited, or no money, there are some services that can help you move forward and keep you safe.   If you are fortunate enough to have access some money, your Charleston Family Law Attorney can take immediate action in the Family Court to keep you safe.  First and foremost, they can seek an Order of Protection that will address custody, support and property issues such as use of a car and the home. The Order of Protection will only be in place for one year, so it is not a permanent resolution to your problem.

Once an Order of Protection has been issued and certain safeguards are in place, a good Charleston Family Law Attorney will file an action for divorce in the Family Court and seek a Temporary Hearing. This is when the protections you received in the Order of Protection can begin to take a permanent form. The Order from your Temporary Hearing in the Family Court will replace the Order of Protection and set you on the path to be divorced from your abuser.

The Family Court Judge can also award you legal fees and suit money at the Temporary Hearing. Suit money is money that a Judge will order your spouse pay to you so that you can pay legal fees in the divorce action in order to “level the playing field”.

South Carolina has some of the most lenient gun laws in the United States. Some of our legislators are serous about working to keep us safe from gun violence, but most of the legislature is working for gun manufactures, the NRA and the gun lobby. Until this changes, we are all at risk of continued indiscriminate gun violence. Don’t remain silent.

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