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    Domestic Dispute Advice

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    Jodie and Aden have been living together for two years. Their home is registered in the sole name of Aden. Jodie has made no financial or other contribution to the property. The relationship has always been stormy but during the past six months Aden has resorted to violence and abuse. During the past six months the police have been called on three occasions. Aden has thrown Jodie out of the house in the middle of the night; he has stabbed her in the arm with a screw driver and punched her in the face which resulted in her needing stitches. Three days ago Jodie informed Aden that she was pregnant with their second child. He demanded that she have an abortion. When she refused he became very angry and punched her repeatedly in the stomach and face. An ambulance was called by the neighbours and Aden was arrested but Jodie is refusing to bring criminal charges.

    Since the attack Jodie and their three year old daughter Emily have been staying with a friend, Pauline but her flat has only one bedroom. Jodie is unwilling to bring criminal charges but she fears for her unborn child and the safety of herself.

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    Solution Preview

    First of all, as Jodie's attorney, you should advise her to bring criminal charges against Aden, even though she doesn't want to. This would protect her and Emily (and possibly the unborn child, if it survived the attack) by putting all the information into a record that can be used in court. If she is unwilling to bring criminal charges, she should at least go down to the police station or to her attorney's office and fill out an affidavit about the abuse she has suffered from Aden. At least if she changes her mind later, or if he abuses someone else in a future relationship, this information will be available. If Jodie is not willing to go this far, then if Emily also has been abused, the friend Pauline should call the child abuse hotline and report Aden as a child abuser. Then, the state can investigate this charge and possibly make it to where Aden cannot have contact (or have limited contact) with Emily (this protects Emily more than Jodie, but because Emily is a minor, she essentially is defenseless).

    Always remember that photographs of bruises and such, as well as hospital documents are important, so if Jodie has any of these, she needs to keep them in a safe place, or give them to the police or her attorney. These need to be kept with any police reports that have been made in response to the three previous domestic violence investigations.

    Also, Jodie needs to get a temporary restraining order with a maximum limit of how close Aden can get to Jodie, and the TRO should include a no-contact provision, in which Aden cannot have any contact with Jodie or Emily. This should be easy to get because of the abuse, and depending on the state laws ...

    Solution Summary

    Domestic dispute advice in legal facets is offered.