Domestic violence can include physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse from a family member, spouse, or significant other. In 2018, Texas had more than 212,000 victims of domestic violence and the state accounts for 10 percent of the country’s domestic violence homicides.

While domestic violence can affect anyone, women are statistically more likely to be victims. Domestic violence can have lingering long-term consequences and side effects for months or years, which include anxiety, depression and substance abuse disorders. Domestic violence can also affect those who are not direct victims, such as the children of victims or witnesses of the violence.

If you or your children are victims of domestic violence or you believe you are in danger of violence, you should know your legal rights as well as the steps you should take to protect you and your family.

The first step to take if you are in immediate danger is to call 9-11 and remove yourself from the dangerous situation. Sometimes this may not be a sustainable solution, such as when a co-parent has a right to a child. In such cases, the police may view the situation as a civil case and suggest hiring an attorney.

The next step is to speak with a lawyer who specializes in family laws and domestic violence issues. Your attorney can help you file an emergency protective order and can also assist with paperwork, including a summary of what the immediate danger is, before you proceed to an emergency hearing before a judge. You may not get into court immediately, so it is very important to work with an attorney so the timeline isn’t stretched out unnecessarily.

At Sandoval Family Law, when we learn of allegations of domestic violence, we can act immediately by filing an emergency protective order. We’re concerned about your safety as well as the safety of your children. We will take the necessary actions to make certain you are in a safe place.

At Sandoval Law Firm we understand the stress of dealing with divorce, child custody and domestic violence. Our firm consists of founding attorney Raul Sandoval Jr. and a dedicated support staff. Mr. Sandoval earned his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law. Since that time, he has been practicing family law in the Austin area, as well as teaching seminars, classes and other forms of professional development.