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Domestic Violence Protection Attorney in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Anyone who’s been a victim of domestic violence or domestic abuse knows how hard it can be to extract yourself from the situation and get help. Often there are complex emotions, or family and financial considerations, that make leaving and getting help extremely hard. However, when you do decide to take the first step in filing for protection orders against an abuser, it can be very helpful to contact a family law attorney. You do not need to go through this difficult time on your own, and an experienced attorney can make this a smoother process for you and your loved ones. My firm—Michael Fink Law, PLLC—can assist domestic violence victims in getting the help they need. If you’re in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area, including St. Paul, Edina, Minnetonka, and St. Louis Park, call me today to discuss your options.

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Domestic Violence in Minnesota  

Each state has its own definition for what’s considered domestic violence (also called domestic abuse), and it can generally be thought of as an umbrella term for any kind of violence, including physical assault and sexual abuse, that occurs between family or household members. Minnesota’s Domestic Abuse Act, passed in 1979, includes in this definition threats of violence or inflicting fear of domestic assault or harm. 

It’s also important to understand what the law means by “family or household members” because this can apply to several different relationships. This designation covers spouses and ex-spouses, children (both biological and adoptive), stepchildren, anyone related by blood, roommates, parents who have a child together (regardless of their marital status or whether they live together), and anyone in a romantic or sexual relationship. 

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Although it can be hard, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to seek protection against abuse and try to prevent it from occurring again in the future. Your first step is always to call the police and file a report. It’s essential that you start now to document these occurrences so you have a paper trail to use as evidence. Next, you’ll need to get yourself to safety as well as anyone else who’s in the house with you like children who may be in danger. This could mean staying with a neighbor, friend, or family member for a few nights until the police have had time to investigate. If you don’t have anywhere safe to go, tell this to the police and they can connect you to services in your area that provide emergency assistance. 

After you’ve spoken with the police and made sure you and your family are safe, you’ll want to obtain an emergency protective order (also called an ex parte order). It can be incredibly helpful to work with an attorney at this point. An emergency order differs from a full protective order because it’s issued immediately by a judge without first having a hearing and your abuser does not need to be notified before a judge signs off on it. This can be crucial if you need immediate protection from your abuser. Even if your ex parte order is approved, you may still want to start filing for restraining orders which can give you even more protection. An order for protection (OFP) can keep your abuser away from you and your home as well as modify parenting time or child support orders. 

Protection Orders  

There are two main types of protection orders in Minnesota: an ex parte and full order. Both will give victims protection under the law from their abusers. If a judge believes there’s an immediate threat to your safety, they can issue an ex parte order which can stay in place for up to two years. In some cases, you can request an extension on this, though in most cases this will trigger a hearing to seek a full order. With an ex parte order, there does not need to be a formal hearing and your abuser does not need to be given an opportunity to present evidence to clear their name.  

However, if a hearing is scheduled, both the victim and the accused will have an opportunity to represent themselves in court before a full order will be issued. Full orders can be issued for up to 50 years, though there are opportunities for the accused to request a modification if they feel this is unjust after five years.

Domestic Violence Protection Attorney in Minneapolis, Minnesota  

If you or someone in your household has been the victim of domestic violence and you’re ready to take action against the abuser, call me today at Michael Fink Law, PLLC in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I know this is a difficult time for you and taking the first step is always the hardest. Having dedicated my practice to family law, I know I can help you and your family move forward.