Domestic violence is an issue that we, as family lawyers in Annapolis, Maryland, see all too frequently. It is all too upsetting and disappointing that Ray Rice, a star of our Baltimore Ravens, was charged criminally for hitting his girlfriend and knocking her unconscious. Strong, professional athletes can inflict serious damage on their “loved ones” just by virtue of their brute strength.
Over the years, we have, unfortunately, dealt with violence and had clients who were killed or seriously injured by their spouses or mates. On occasion, children have been the victims of the violence. We sadly had one client who was in a comma for a week from her injuries.
Before Sharon Grosfeld started working for this law firm, she was an advocate at the house of Ruth. As a member of the House of Delegates and Maryland Senate she advanced the protection from domestic violence and was seen as a leader in this field by the other members of the Legislature.
The Maryland law that provides for the protection gives the victim the opportunity to have the abuser removed from the house. The victim can obtain relief at either the Circuit Court or the District Court. One a petition is filed, the petitioner is taken to a judge for the judge to determine whether a temporary order should be granted. If the order is granted, the parties are required to come back to court to see if the order should be extended. The court also has discretion to order anger management and other remedies in an attempt to protect the victims and preserve the family. Commissioners are available after hours and the issues do not have to wait for court..In addition to granting the initial orders, the court has serious penalties for the violation of a protective order.
There are also occasions when people are wrongfully charged with domestic violence, sometimes in an attempt to gain some leverage in upcoming litigation. The remedy of a protective order is a serious event. Both sides to the conflict have an opportunity to be heard in court and tell his or her part of the story. The outcome of a protective order hearing could have an impact on some of the issues in a final divorce so this should be treated very seriously by both parties.