Last month, Washington County (Maryland) Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson was shot to death in the driveway of his family home by alleged suspect Pedro Argote. Hours before, Judge Wilkinson ruled in divorce hearings that Argote could have no visitation or contact with his wife and four children, could not enter the family home, and was ordered to pay child support each month.
After hearing testimony from Argote's oldest daughter, where she described how he beat her and kept her confined to her bedroom for years, Judge Wilkinson called Argote's behavior “shocking” and said of Argote, “I think he is abusive in multiple ways.” Argote wasn't present at the hearing but allegedly tracked the judge down at his home to exact his revenge.
Living in the throes of an abusive partner is terrifying. When kids are involved, the situation gets more complicated. And when victims finally get the courage to move on, they're not the only ones who can face retaliation. However, securing a Protection from Abuse (PFA) order and obtaining custody of minor children you share can help protect you and your children if you are victims of domestic violence. Contact us at 888.535.3686 or through our online form to hear how we can help.
Protection From Abuse Orders and Child Custody
A Protection from Abuse (PFA) order is a legal document issued by a court to protect an individual from abuse, harassment, or threat of harm by another person. PFAs are also referred to as restraining orders, protection orders, or orders of protection. The purpose of a PFA is to provide legal protection to victims of domestic violence, stalking, or other forms of abuse.
The specific terms and conditions of a PFA order can vary, but they commonly include directives prohibiting the alleged abuser from contacting, approaching, or harming the victim. PFA orders can also address issues such as child custody, visitation rights, and financial support. Parents can also seek a PFA on behalf of a minor child. But if the spouse seeks a PFA for themselves, it would likely impact the defendant's ability to see their children anyway.
To obtain a PFA order, an individual typically needs to file a petition with the court, providing evidence and details about the alleged abuse. If the court finds sufficient evidence to support the need for protection, it may issue a temporary or emergency order. Subsequently, a hearing is usually scheduled to allow both parties to present their cases before a more permanent order is issued.
The Family Law Team at LLF Law Firm Can Help You and Your Children Get the Protection You Need
If you and your children are in an abusive situation, it is imperative that you seek help and protection. Getting a PFA and obtaining full custody of your children is a first step toward feeling safe again. Dealing with PFAs and child custody agreements together can magnify an already complex and emotional process. The Family Law Team at LLF Law Firm can help you through this difficult time. Contact us today at 888.535.3686 or through our online form to hear how we can help.