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Domestic Violence: Stay safe during COVID-19 in Texas

There are always side effects in collateral damage associated with sweeping changes that occur in our country. The government instituted multiple rounds of state home orders in government shutdowns as a result of the coronavirus beginning in March. As we have seen the rates of testing increase, the hospitalization numbers increase in Wayne overtime the government has responded in its attempts to restrain the growth of this virus. Whether or not those attempts will be successful is anyone's guess at this stage. What we do know is that these attempts to stymie the growth of the virus have effects that go beyond people getting sick with COVID-19.

I think the most discussed side effect of these government shutdowns has been in regard to the economy. Even if you haven't been keeping up with the news you have likely become aware that the unemployment rate in our country skyrocketed during these various shutdowns. This is adding an effect not only on Individual families in their communities but on entire states in the nation as a whole. Legislation was passed in March and April that would allow auto work persons in most US citizens to become eligible for payments from the government. These payments or intended to help keep families afloat financially while the economy struggled to regain its footing in the face of his government shutdowns. 

The economic well-being of families in Southeast Texas impacts how people feel about their lives overall. A lot of problems in a person's life can be papered over if they are doing OK financially. Job stability is tied to the decisions that people make in terms of their spending and their willingness to grow their family. When economic times are bleak, people are less willing to spend money in are more pessimistic about their future and that of their family. It just so happened that the coronavirus pandemic, the government LED shutdowns of the economy and the problems associated with the oil and gas sector all collided at the same time to create an especially troublesome economic picture for Southeast Texas. 

Another connection that we can draw from bad economic numbers is its relationship to family problems. As a family law attorney, I can tell you that I have spoken with many, many families who have gone through divorces and who tell me that financial problems for a major cause of the divorce. There may have been other factors at play but financial problems who are at the top of the list. Sometimes we even have the unfortunate experience of seeing families deal with domestic violence in addition to an already difficult family law related matter. 

That is what I would like to discuss with you today in our blog post. A major concern among there is in the family law community right now is the possible relationship between the stay at home orders and an increase in domestic violence. In an effort to do our best to help keep our community safe and to help educate those of us who are impacted by this phenomenon I would like to share with you my thoughts on the relationship between This virus, the shutdowns and domestic violence. I would also like to share my thoughts on how to prevent incidents of domestic violence before they occur. 

Domestic violence can increase merely due to the increased contact between family members 

I used to hear a lot about how we as American families don't take the time to slow down and do things as simple as eat meals together anymore. Our schedules used to be so overly burdened with activities, but it was difficult to sit down and have a simple meal with one another. Well, since about March 15th I haven't heard much of that at all. Not surprisingly, most of us have seen our schedules come to a grinding halt other than the most essential activities like work, grocery shopping and things of that nature. The fact is that I'm sure most of us reading this blog are spending much more time at home that we had during any other time in our adult lives. 

We are spending more time at home with our families which can be both a positive and negative. It is a positive for those of us who have healthy family lives and to get along and care for our families. Those of us in this position May be able to look back on this time as one that was somewhat intimidating, and a little unsettling in regard to the virus itself but overall was one where we built memories that we will hold for the rest of our lives for better or worse. Or at least, that's how I'm looking at things trying to be as optimistic as possible. 

On the other hand, if you are in a situation where your family life is overall a negative as far as impact on your life generally speaking then you may struggle during these times when you will be spending more time with your family and out of your normal routine. For the most part this may mean problems with communication A few arguments here there in a general sense that you are unsatisfied with your marriage or even with your family as a whole. What it may mean for an unfortunate few is that domestic violence is a major concern in your life. 

When I talk about domestic violence in a general sense, I am really talking about family violence In addition to domestic violence. This can mean violence against children as perpetrated by an adult, violence by one spouse against another spouse or violence by a person In a dating relationship against their partner. These are the forms of domestic and family violence that family law attorneys unfortunately see with the varying frequencies during their practice. While a typical child custody or divorce case is stressful enough as it is on a family a domestic violence case can be even worse. While everyone is concerned with the physical effects of a virus it is the physical effects of domestic violence which can leave much greater impacts on individuals and families. 

Why could domestic violence incidents increase during the pandemic?

I think the simple fact that we're all spending more time at home leads more people to be vulnerable and in situations where domestic violence may occur as a result. Whereas, you and your spouse may have had a toxic relationship for months or even years your normal schedules may have kept you out of each other's hair now the crosshairs of potential incidents of domestic violence. Now that we're all literally face to face with one another on a near constant basis these problems may begin to surface with more ease.

If you and your spouse are not patient with one another and do not give each other as much physical distance as possible depending on the state of your relationship, then it is not far-fetched to imagine a scenario or domestic violence could occur. Obviously, nobody hopes that this happens, but it is worth mentioning that having a plan to avoid incidents like this in to avoid the situation of raw appliance does occur need to be thought about in advance. Trying to figure out how to avoid a situation as it is happening is not good enough and could very well be too late. 

Have a plan regarding how to act in the event that domestic violence occurs in your home

Let's layout a hypothetical situation involving you and your spouse. Let's say that you have become worried over the past weeks and months that anger between you and your spouse will boil over and eventually lead to you becoming the victim of domestic violence. You have read newspaper articles heard stories from other people and ran through hypothetical situations in your mind time after time but how dangerous domestic violence is. That hasn't stopped you from engaging in behavior with your spouse it could very well lead to a domestic violence incident. 

Rather than enter into a potentially dangerous situation with no plan in mind I would recommend that you have some steps laid out for you to fall back on in the event that you need to seek safety in the face of domestic violence in your home. Let's walk through some of those steps that you can take to put yourself and your children in a safer situation And two eventually hold your spouse accountable for his or her actions. 

First, as the old saying goes, a penny’s worth of prevention Is worth a pound of cure. What I mean by this is that if you can avoid a potentially hostile situation to begin with then you will be in a better position then You would've been Merely trying to discover how to remove yourself from a violent scenario in your home. For example, if you sense a discussion between you and your spouse is turning heated then you should physically remove yourself from that area. Simply no longer talking or changing the subject in a conversation may not do enough. If you physically remove yourself from the room and eliminate conversation, Then this can do a world of good for you and your family. 

Next, you should develop a literal exit strategy for if violence occurs in the home and you have to take steps to remove yourself. Having a couple of changes of clothes for you and your children in a bag somewhere where your spouse will not find it is a good place to start. This will be handy if you have to leave the house at a moment's notice in seek here or shelter in another location. Having gas in your vehicle at all times and contact information for safe houses or shelters in your phone would also be smart to plan ahead for. 

If you know that you and your spouse are going to have a discussion or potentially engage in a conversation that could turn to violence, I would recommend steering yourself away from rooms with sharp objects and things that can Potentially be harmful to you. Rooms like your bathroom with lots of hard surfaces and certainly the kitchen with silver Ware and other sharp objects should be avoided. If your home has two stories, then you should absolutely not get into discussions that may become heated on the 2nd floor. Do not box yourself into a corner and leave yourself no opportunity for an exit. 

If you have become the victim of domestic violence, then you should know that you have options as far as places to seek care even during the pandemic. There are various shelters in our area that you can seek care with. He should perform some basic Internet research in order to have these places on Speed dial in the event need to call upon them. If it shelters is not available to you then I would recommend contacting relatives and friends who you can trust and determining whether or not you can seek shelter with them for a temporary period of time. Make sure that these folks are not people that will disclose your location to your spouse.

Finally, in the event that you need to file for divorce or seek a protective order against your spouse you should seek out an experienced family law attorney. It is incredibly critical to your safety and that of your children for you to have an attorney who has worked with clients in your position before. You do not want to have an inexperienced and green attorney trying to navigate the complicated court system especially during a viral pandemic. 

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our experienced family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week here in our office, over the phone and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn More about Texas family law and the services that our office can provide to you and your family as clients. 


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