Domestic violence is a horrible thing that can affect all areas of a person's life. Divorce is often a necessary step and may involve child or pet custody issues. Fortunately, Kansas has a number of laws to assist victims, including laws covering restraining orders and family or domestic relations. The following is a quick summary of Kansas family laws pertaining to domestic violence.
Kansas Restraining and Protection Orders During Divorce
Either spouse may seek a restraining order or an "order of protection" from a court. Among other things, these orders prohibit the abusive spouse from coming within a certain distance of the victim and their minor children.
If good cause is provided, a temporary restraining order may be issued without the other party present on the same day the petition is filed. It is considered good cause if the victim or minor children are shown to be in immediate and present danger. A temporary restraining order is valid from the time a petition is filed until the court hearing for the order of protection.
At the hearing for the order of protection, both spouses are able to present their arguments before a judge decides upon whether or not to issue an order of protection. Once issued, an order of protection is good for one year but may be renewed after it expires if the court finds that the threat of domestic violence still exists.
Child Custody and Domestic Violence in Kansas
Kansas uses the "best interests of the child" standard for determining child custody. The court determines who should have custody based upon a number of factors including the parents' and child's wishes, the relationship of the child with his parents and siblings, and any evidence of spousal or child abuse.
Kansas Family Law on Domestic Violence
The following table outlines family laws related to domestic violence in Kansas.
|How is Child Custody Affected?||
Kansas child custody laws specifically state that issues concerning abuse will be taken in account in determining child custody arrangements. This includes evidence of spousal abuse, a prior conviction of child abuse, and whether a parent is a registered sex offender. If the child will be residing in a household with another party who is not a parent, the court will also consider whether that person is a registered sex offender or convicted child abuser.
|What Happens to the Family Pet?||
Family pets are considered personal property and marital property laws apply. Therefore, the party who owned it before the marriage or inherited may have the animal has separate property or it may be divided as part of the divorce. In that case, the court may consider any animal cruelty issues concerning the pet.
Kansas prohibits animal cruelty and depending upon the type of abuse inflicted upon the animal, it is a felony punishable by up to 1 year in prison and up to $2,500 or $5,000 in fines for a person with no prior criminal convictions.
|Where Can I Get Help?||
In an emergency, victims should call 911. Once at a safe location, victims can also contact the Kansas Coalition against Sexual and Domestic Violence to seek help with legal issues, referrals, and safety planning. Kansas also has a statewide crisis hotline: 888-END-ABUSE. There also may also be a number of local resources.
Kansas Family Law on Domestic Violence: Related Resources
If you need legal assistance with a divorce or other family law issue, you may contact an experienced Kansas family law attorney. You may also read FindLaw's Kansas Legal Requirements for Divorce, Kansas Child Custody Laws, and Kansas Protective Order Laws for more articles and information on these topics.
Contact a qualified attorney.