Crossing Legal Lines: When Family Law Becomes Criminal Law And What To Do

Family law usually does not cross lines with other types of law unless something goes very awry. In family law cases where there is domestic abuse, then there may be some criminal activity that has to be pursued in other branches of the the law and the courts. In cases where exes commit homicide, then family law definitely crosses over into criminal law. Here are some instances where crossing legal lines ventures into other branches of law and what to do if this happens to you.

Domestic Violence and Divorce

Domestic violence and divorce may cause your abuser to escalate. You should seek shelter in a domestic abuse center, where women and children are protected from the abuser with security cameras and locked doors. In court, seek a protective order as soon as you are able.

The only problem with the protective order is that it may only protect you and not the children. In some states, parents who have not inflicted physical injury on the children but have inflicted injury on spouses are still allowed to see the children. Be sure to supply any and all evidence of physical abuse of you and/or the children to your lawyer to get protective orders for the children as well. Also request supervised visits with your ex so that the children cannot be harmed when the courts order visitation. If the violence continues, call the police and press charges.

Stalking and Threats

Ex-spouses are not allowed to threaten, coerce or menace each other in any state. Stalking laws are in place in nearly every state, too, which means that your spouse cannot stalk you and make you feel uncomfortable or fearful in your daily life. Report all incidents to the police and then collect the police reports to give to your lawyer. Depending on the frequency with which your ex stalks and/or threatens you, he or she can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Either way, you have crossed over into criminal law from family law. 

Attempted Homicide or Homicide

Attempted homicide and homicide are both felony charges. A criminal law firm may get involved at this point if your family law firm is not equipped to manage or defend a criminal law case. In an attempted homicide charge, you will most definitely receive police protection until your ex is caught and arrested.

In the event that an ex commits a homicide of a former spouse, the case can be pursued by your family survivors. Children left behind in a homicide case are always removed from the care of the offending spouse and placed in foster care or with other family members if other family members are willing to take them. In all of the above situations, family law crosses over into criminal law, and if you can find a criminal law firm that covers both, it will be better for your situation.