My spouse or significant other has pushed me, what can I do?
Unwanted touching is a crime. If someone has touched, pushed or restrained you against your will, you should consider calling the police. Obviously if it was truly harmless such as a tap on the shoulder to get your attention, you should not call the police. But any touching meant to cause harm or intimidate should be reported.
What are the laws on "Family Violence"?
Aside from the criminal process of arrest and trial, there exists a civil process. This process allows you to proceed to court and ask for an immediate restraining order to prevent the other party from coming near you. If the court grants such an order, the other party will be delivered notice of the order together with notice of a court date at which time each side will present their side of the case and the court will decide whether to dismiss the suit or to extend the restraining order beyond the court date. Also, such a restraining order carries other consequences such as impacting the defendant’s ability to carry a firearm.
What about "Stalking"?
Stalking (constantly following, calling or even emailing someone for the purpose of intimidation or harassment) is a crime, but it can also be the basis for the same type of relief sometimes granted in a Family Violence case (see FAQ on Family Violence).
What if someone files a false family violence claim against me?
This does happen. If you are accused of committing an act of family violence, you should hire an attorney and decide the best way to defend yourself in court. If the judge is convinced that you were falsely accused, the judge will dismiss the order and may even assess costs against the plaintiff.
What happens to the children after a Family Violence case?
The court, in a Family Violence proceeding, can also determine issues of custody, visitation and support. Be prepared with a suggestion for the court of what you would like to see happen after the trial.