Family law matters-including those involving domestic violence issues- are handled in the civil system. Depending on the structure of your state legal system, family law cases are either heard in specialized family law courts or general civil courts. These cases may include:
Recently, domestic violence victims have also turned to the civil system seeking compensation for medical bills and other economic remedies from their abusers.In the civil system, you may be represented by an attorney or (for financial, personal or any other reason) you can represent yourself.
Usually the standard of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence, but that can vary in certain cases, including protective orders, depending on your state law.
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The process for bringing civil suits and the types of relief available to those who win vary by state. A civil case can take months and even years to complete, and prove quite costly if you are paying a private attorney. Child custody cases - especially those involving domestic violence -are never over, as either parent (depending on the state law) can file a request that the court re-examine the custody order if there is a significant change in circumstances.
Whenever possible, you should consult a family law attorney with domestic violence expertise for help bringing or defending a civil lawsuit; it is a long and complicated process.
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