January 4, 2014

Divorcing an Abusive Husband

Divorce and Abusive Husband, Protections and Considerations for Women

It is an unfortunate truth that domestic violence is still a threat to women. Those who have decided to leave the marital home and pursue divorce face many fears and often, real danger. Divorce may seem like an impossible luxury to women living with an abusive husband; however, Pennsylvania has resources to help.

Support groups and experts suggest taking steps towards distancing yourself from the situation and establishing personal space. The most effective and safe way to proceed with divorcing an abusive husband is to seek experienced legal counsel.

Not surprisingly, an abuser will be frustrated and angered by the discussion of divorce. Throughout the process, an abusive husband’s behavior may escalate. An experienced Bucks County divorce lawyer will be able to help determine if a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) will be necessary or likely to be useful under unique circumstances.

Defining abuse in Pennsylvania

Abuse is defined by Pennsylvania courts pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6102 . It is defined as: The occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members, sexual or intimate partners or persons who share biological parenthood.

(1) Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury, serious bodily injury, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault or incest with or without a deadly weapon.

(2) Placing another in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury.

(3) The infliction of false imprisonment pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 2903 (relating to false imprisonment).

(4) Physically or sexually abusing minor children, including such terms as defined in Chapter 63 (relating to child protective services).

(5) Knowingly engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another person, including following the person, without proper authority, under circumstances which place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury. The definition of this paragraph applies only to proceedings commenced under this title and is inapplicable to any criminal prosecutions commenced under Title 18 (relating to crimes and offenses).

What is a PFA?

A PFA (or restraining order) is a document that can keep the threat at a distance, which will allow divorce proceedings to continue and keep the abused party safe. PFA procedure in Bucks County was recently updated in light of Fox v. Fox, 2013 PA Super 88 (April 17, 2013)- decided by Pennsylvania Superior Court.

On the same day a petition is filed, a hearing is conducted and the petition is reviewed by a judge to test the claims in the petition. The hearing is an ex parte hearing, which is reserved for urgent matters where notifying the other party would subject the petitioner to harm. For more information on PFA filing procedures in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, take a moment to read our firm’s press release.

Before making any moves, seek experienced counsel. A divorce lawyer will be able to guide you through the process and suggest legal avenues to protect your safety. A lawyer will be able to present your case and fight for the safety of your family. Contact the Law Offices of Michael Kuldiner, P.C. at (215) 942-2100 or submit an online inquiry form. Please use discretion when providing contact information; a member of our team will contact you to schedule your consultation.