Domestic Abuse Laws

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-22-2012
Domestic Abuse Laws
Tue, 11-19-2013 - 8:12pm

Hello everyone,

I am actually writing for a little bit of legal advice regarding my brother. I have googled and come up with a lot of generalities, but I can't find anything concrete. He has been with a woman for close to four years. She showed up "pregnant" after a brief fling (he ended it because she was way too intense for him), and he has taken on the duty of partner and father. He has bought a house, gotten a job, supported her while she went to school and even (agreed?) to have a second child who was born this year.  She is definitely the most unlikeable person I have ever met (and not just because I am a loyalist to my brother). She constantly berates him, calls him a loser, dictates who he is allowed to see and be friends with, and on more than one occasion has been physically violent with him. Apparently one of those times (according to him, which I believe because of how broken up he is about it) he lost his temper and hit her back. She took photos of "bruises" and told him if he ever tries to leave her, she will use them to make sure he never gets custody or visitation. She never reported anything to anyone. she immediately used it as leverage. She also has threatened to have a restraining order placed against my mother if she tries to talk to my brother or see their children. My brother is 100% convinced that he will never see his kids again if he leaves, but I am afraid he is really going to snap one day if he stays. He has been working two jobs, but just got laid off and can barely afford to keep the lights on in his home as she went out and bought a Mercedes right around the time his  (their) house was in the process of being foreclosed. 

Anyway, I want to help him at least get a little bit of confidence that she would not be granted full custody based on a couple of photos with no incident report. I am trying to find definite laws that I can send to him so he at least knows she has no legal grounds for what she is threatening. Does anyone know anything?

ETA: I am NOT in anyway condoning my brother's behavior. I am shocked and appalled by the fact that he hit her ever. He and were not raised in that kind of family, and he has always been an easygoing peacemaker, so if you know him, you know this is completely out of character for him. I don't want to say he is blamefree at all. I just want to know legally what his rights are.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 11-19-2013 - 11:08pm

Each state has their own laws so you would have to research the laws in your state.  Some states do have laws where if one parent was abusive it would be assumed that the abusive parent would not have custody of the children--but it is highly unlikely even in that scenario that he would be forbidden from seeing the children.  Even parents I've seen who have serious problems are allowed supervised visitation--and then if they show they can get their act together, the goal is eventually to get unsupervised.  Her credibility would be in question if she never called the police or went to a hospital.  But he should really consult a lawyer.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Wed, 11-20-2013 - 2:46am

Proceed with extreme caution.  First he  is held by the short hairs which is his own fault.  Two he is better off getting a divorce when he is out of work but it all depends on the state and the county and the judge.  First tactic is to visit all the divorce attys in the area.  That prevents them from taking her case as a consultation with him may be an ethics issue.   Next is for him to document,document record and document. Document verbal abuse and any other actions.  If she hits him call the cops but use the cell phone to document what was said  and done.   Get all the papers in order.  He probably is not cunning enough to not give away what he is up to.

  But he may need to sacrifice. 


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-15-2008
Fri, 11-22-2013 - 7:46am

Hi Nsdk,  I am not an attorney but how does just having photos of bruises prove that your brother did it?  Unless there were witnesses or she called the police at the time how can she prove who or what created the bruises in the photos?

I like the others would suggest your brother visit an attorney.  The attorney will know how to handle it.  Maybe counseling for your brother would help too.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Mon, 01-20-2014 - 12:38am

I'm with Ollie!  She never reported abuse to the police, and a picture of bruises means nothing.  I've had bruises from walking into things.......I actually got a black eye from hitting myself with a board (by accident when I was handing it to someone else....I swung it around, and underestimated the length.....and hit myself in the process).  I have a picture of that lovely black eye.  The picture doesn't say who did it or how it happened!  You didn't mention if your brother actually wants out.....or is it just that you can see the mess he's in and would like to give him some information? Every state has different laws, and within that state, the judges don't always have the same opinons, and it's the judges who decide custody, alimony, child support, etc.  Your brother should find a good lawyer, and let the lawyer tell him what to do and how to do it.  This situation is like an addiction.  Your brother might be addicted to drugs, but he's not going to stop because YOU want him to....he has to do it for himself, and he has to get out of this marriage for himself, too.  You can't do it for him.  It's understandable that you want to help your brother......but this is something he has to do for himself.  This woman cannot get a restraining order on your Mother for TALKING to her son, or her grandchildren.  Restraining orders are issued by a judge who will decide if anyone is in danger from your Mother.....and I'm sure that's not a problem.  This woman is walking all over your brother, and he has to get some backbone and do what needs to be done.  Or maybe he doesn't want to.  Some men love misery and will stay with it.  I hope he has enough brains to NOT make another baby!