What did Janay Palmer do to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice after he punched her, knocking her out? She married him. That is rare. Usually divorce — not marriage — follows domestic violence.

Rice’s recent notoriety and numerous other episodes surrounding athletes and celebrities highlight the breadth of family abuse. Virginia defines family abuse as an act against a family or household member involving violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or creates a reasonable fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury. If a family or household member abuses you or your children, take protective steps — call the police immediately and obtain a protective order, which, among other things, can give you exclusive possession of the home.

A magistrate can issue an emergency protective order lasting 72 hours. A juvenile and domestic relations district court judge can then enter a preliminary protective order for up to 15 days and schedule a hearing, when both the petitioner and alleged abuser can present evidence to the court as to why it should extend or extinguish the protective order. If the court grants an extension, it may do so for up to two years.

Whether or not a victim obtains a protective order, domestic violence is often a prelude to separation and divorce. The attorneys at MeyerGoergen PC not only assist abused family members secure protective orders, we also help spouses through the divorce maze, including property division, alimony, spousal and child support, custody, and visitation.

If family abuse invades your home, or marital disputes make separation and divorce likely, MG Law is here for you. Contact Pete Goergen, Patty Wood, or Scott Simmons.

The materials on this website are meant for informational purposes only and nothing contained in this site is to be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact an attorney directly. Do not act upon the information on this site without seeking professional guidance. Information on this website about specific matters or success in previous cases is not meant to be a prediction or guarantee of similar results in any other case. Each case consists of factors and applicable law unique to that case and you should consult an attorney.