What is family violence?
Family violence is the issue that we take most seriously in the context of family law matters. Family violence in Louisiana has a very specific definition. Family violence is defined as either one incident of violence that results in harm to a party, or multiple incidents of “battery” as defined in the criminal code. Battery would include any offensive touching. So if there is only one incident of violence, for it to qualify as family violence under Louisiana law, it would have to result in harm. Harm is typically proven through pictures or hospital and doctor records. If there was no harm, incidents that occur more than once can be considered family violence under Louisiana law. For example, pushing a person or spitting on them would be considered battery under Louisiana law. This means that if one spouse pushes the other more than once, or spits on them more than once, they would be found to have committed family violence under Louisiana law.
This is an important distinction because it carries with it severe ramifications for the violator. First, the violator is presumed to be an unfit parent and thus the victim is awarded sole custody. Second, the violator should be required to pay all attorney’s fees and costs to the victim, including counseling costs. Third, the victim is presumed to be entitled to spousal support.
Choosing the right legal team
Because these consequences of being found guilty of family violence are so dramatic, there are unscrupulous parties who allege family violence where there is none. We have been involved in many cases in several trials with both meritorious and unmeritorious allegations of family violence. On at least three occasions, we have participated in trials proving that a man who was accused of family violence did not in fact commit the family violence. We have also been involved in numerous cases and trials where we represented the victims of family violence. (Interestingly, in most cases the perpetrators of the violence elected not to go to trial and simply admitted their mistakes when we were involved). If you are a victim of family violence, there is help. The law is now set up to protect you and your family. Contact an attorney immediately so that you can protect yourself and your children.