Sexual Assault and Family Law
Please note: The information on these pages provides general information only. It is not specific legal advice addressing your specific situation. For personal legal advice, contact AVOICE at 1-888-343-4414.
Often your assailant is someone you have been intimately involved with – a spouse, partner, boyfriend or girlfriend – and you may even own property together, or have children together. If this is the case, severing those ties can be extremely stressful and complicated. Attorneys at AVOICE can help you understand your rights if you need to seek a divorce or begin a custody case.
If you are married to your offender, you may decide you want a divorce. You can seek a divorce with the help of an attorney or you can represent yourself. There are free self-help forms and instructions on www.texaslawhelp.org here: http://texaslawhelp.org/resource/divorce-brochure-for-uncontested-divorce?ref=HMkJm & here: http://texaslawhelp.org/resource/do-it-yourself-court-forms-free.
A divorce proceeding allows you to get Temporary Orders in place to secure property and debts, and also gives you the opportunity to seek temporary custody of the children, and get some financial support ordered (child support and/or spousal support). If it can be proved that you are the victim of a sexual assault by your spouse, then you are entitled to seek spousal support, regardless of the length of your marriage, as well as a larger share of the marital property. You should not attempt to represent yourself without consulting with an attorney if you have a significant amount of property, if you have children, and/or if you want to also seek a protective order.
If you have children with your offender, you may decide you want additional safeguards around sharing possession of your children. You may want to limit the amount of time that the offender can spend with the children, or even have his/her time supervised. You may want to exchange the children in a safe place, that is not at either of your residences. You may want to designate a safe method for communications about the children, to avoid harassment or threats. You may need to clarify the terms of your shared possession to minimize unnecessary communications. You may want to get financial support for the children, including health insurance. A custody case, which can be brought during a divorce, or brought separately, can help address all these issues. If it can be proven that you or the children are the victims of sexual assault, then the court may decide to limit the offenders’ access to the children. A skilled attorney can help you understand your legal rights and what to expect in a custody case.
When you are ready, contact AVOICE at 1-888-343-4414, Monday-Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.