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Steven  K.
Steven K., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1610
Experience:  I have practiced family law since 1996, focusing on child custody and domestic violence
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My fiance left Monday while I was at work and crossed state

Customer Question

My fiance' left Monday while I was at work and crossed state lines. I have not heard from her since. I have not made any attempt to contact her as I want nothing more to work this out, and I know she left due to my issues with anger and control. Since then, I have started going to counseling and signed up for an anger management class, as well as contacting the VA for PTSD testing as I want nothing more then to fix the issues I have, and give her time. Should I worry she is in a womans shelter or at a friends, and if so, which, and what could be the result?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Steven K. replied 3 years ago.

Steven Kincaid :

Thank you for allowing me to assist you.

Steven Kincaid :

Can you tell me what your worries are?

Steven Kincaid :

Are you concerned about legal consequences?

Customer :

Thank you for the prompt response.

Customer :

I am first and formost worried about restoring my family. I love her and my kids more then anything in the world.

Customer :

I know she left because I have serious angder and control issues

Steven Kincaid :

Has she gotten a restraining order against you?

Customer :

Since she left, I have heard nothing, at all

Customer :

No, and that is what is confusing me

Customer :

Should I not have gotten one already if she was afraid of me?

Customer :

Since she left, and this has been the biggest awakinging I have ever had, I have started counsoling, started anger management, looked into selling my firearm, and have contacted the va for ptsd testing

Steven Kincaid :

The reason I ask is that if she got a protective order, that would prevent you from contacting her at any point to try to restore your relationship. As long as she does not have one, you are legally allowed to contact her, although that might not be the best thing for your relationship at this point.

Customer :

Should I have recieved one already?

Customer :

I know I have serious issues that I must address to show her I am serious about things, and as hard as this is, I am finnally admitting I have a problem and am seeking help.

Steven Kincaid :

Only if she asked for one and got it. Not every woman who leaves requests a restraining order. If you want to check at the local courthouses you can, but she could have requested one wherever she is and it sounds like you're not sure where that is.

Customer :

Their was no physical abuse in the relationship, but I was very verbally and emotionally abusive

Customer :

I have no idea where she is

Steven Kincaid :

It may be better to get advice from a therapist about how and when to contact her to try to save your relationship.

Steven Kincaid :

Of course, you cannot do so without having contact information for her. You don't have children together, do you?

Customer :

The only information I have received is when I had the police scouring my apartment

Customer :

We have two and she crossed state lines

Steven Kincaid :

To retrieve her belongings?

Customer :

No to leave

Customer :

Is that she had some contact with a sherrifs office in indiana saying she was afraid for her life

Customer :

But what confuses me on this is, her and her friend left in a four door sedan with six children under the age of seven in their

Customer :

and that too me seems a perfect way of getting out of a ticket

Customer :

I am very committed to not do anything legally, for the mean time, to show I am not trying to control her, but I am very concerned obviously at not having heard anything

Customer :

And I am just wondering, do these signs point to her being at a womans shelter and I should anticipate a restraining order, or do they not, and if they do, what could happen?

Steven Kincaid :

You should know that the state where the children have lived for the past six months (Indiana?) can only take orders regarding custody and visitation until the kids have been in another state for six months. If you wait that long, the issue may be addressed in another state.

Customer :

We currently live in TN.

Steven Kincaid :

If she gets a restraining order, then you are not permitted to contact her except by sending her legal documents through an attorney.

Steven Kincaid :

OK, then Tennessee if that's where they've lived for the past six months.

Customer :

If she filed, would I have recieved it yet?

Customer :

And how do I know if she files?

Steven Kincaid :

If you do eventually file, you can show that you are not trying to control her by showing that you 1) simply want visitation on terms that make her feel comfortable; 2) that you are not trying to force her or the kids back to Tennessee; 3) that you are voluntarily undergoing treatment.

Steven Kincaid :

There is now way of knowing if she would have had you served yet. She could file in TN or in Indiana.

Steven Kincaid :

Or wherever she is.

Steven Kincaid :

Or she could plan on doing it but has not done it yet.

Steven Kincaid :

She has to have you served with the court papers or the restraining order is not valid.

Customer :

But until/if I receive one, then I wouldn't be violating anything by sending her an email? I have sent her two, neither one stating anything more then my grief, sorrow, acknowledging what I never would before and what I am doing to get help.

Steven Kincaid :

Once you receive one, you could not even send her an email. In every state, protective orders prevent any contact whatsoever, but there has to be an exception to allow you to file a court case and have her served with court documents. You cannot personally send those documents, but you can have someone send them.

Steven Kincaid :

Until you are served, you are permitted to contact her, but you must use your judgment to determine whether it is wise.

Customer :

I guess what I am really wondering more then anything, is what is the average turn around time after filing for one to receive a restraining order, can you locate it via public record search, and does my seeking help on my own mean anything?

Customer :

Because , and correct in my mind, if she were trueely scared for her life, wouldnt some cops have had contact with me?

Customer :

*correct me if I am wrong

Steven Kincaid :

Your seeking help on your own can make a huge difference in a custody and visitation action. It does not prevent someone from getting a restraining order, however, if they want one. It would only stop the issuance of a restraining order if it made your fiance decide she did not want a restraining order.

Customer :

So a court cannot force her to get one, or a womans sheltor?

Customer :

Sorry for my bad grammer, *shelter

Steven Kincaid :

If she sought a restraining order, it could be granted the same day she requests it (on a weekday) and she would have to arrange with your local law enforcement, a private process server or a private person to have you served with the papers. That simply takes as long as the process server takes to find you and serve you.

Customer :

So it really is soely up to her?

Steven Kincaid :

A court or a woman's shelter cannot force her to get one. (There may be shelters that strongly encourage it, not only for the woman's protection but for the protection of everybody else at the shelter).

Steven Kincaid :

It is up to her. But if there was no physical violence, she may not qualify for a restraining order. Were there threats of violence?

Customer :

Completely understandable, but they cannot make her do it? And I dont doubt initially she very well might have been in a very bad state of mind.

Steven Kincaid :

Her being "scared for her life" would not necessarily result in any police involvement, particularly when there was no physical violence.

Steven Kincaid :

They cannot make her do it.

Customer :

Her friend states their was, but I most certainly do not remember giving any, however, with my temper, I would not doubt I would have spotted off just about anything if I was mad enough............which sadly I was far, far too often

Steven Kincaid :

I'm confused - her friend says there was what?

Customer :

Yes, that I am sure of their was no physical violence, I was shoved a couple times, but I can almost guerentee I deserved it and I would never ever press charges or say anything to police

Customer :

I threatened to kill her

Customer :

I dont remember saying that ever and I am beyond upset that I more then likely did and dint try to get help sooner.

Steven Kincaid :

In most states that would be enough for her to get a restraining order

Customer :

I just want to get as much help as I can now that I am finnaly willing to admit I have a poblem and do what is best for my family

Customer :

Even if I dont remember saying it?

Customer :

And it was soely verbal?

Steven Kincaid :

In Indiana, domestic violence includes threats to harm the person.

Customer :

I know it sounds like a cop-out, or a cheap excuse, but I really have had occasions I get so mad I dint remember what I have said, which is why when I was finnaly able to admit I had a problem and seek help I grabbed the AM as well, I want specific focus on that issue.

Steven Kincaid :

In Tennessee, threatening someone with serious physical harm is domestic violence.

Customer :

Can they make her d anything about that, or is it the same thing, stronlgy encourage?

Steven Kincaid :

That can happen, as I understand it, with conditions like PTSD.

Customer :

Thats just it, I KNOW I havent said it in the six months since we moved here......it would have been years and years ago in Michigan

Steven Kincaid :

What do you mean "grab the AM"?

Customer :

grab the anger management courses

Customer :

Pretty much anything the friend is saying that I said would have occured in Michigan over a year ago.......and I am not one second dismissing my behaviour either, just trying to be as honest as I can so i can get the best advice

Steven Kincaid :

Are you asking if they can make her press charges because you threatened to kill her in the past?

Customer :

correct

Customer :

And my other question is, can I do any form of search to see if a restraining order has been filed?

Steven Kincaid :

Although it is up to the prosecutor, not her, whether or not to prosecute, I have never heard of someone being prosecuted for verbal abuse a year after the incident. Most prosecutions occur only if the incident is reported shortly after it happened.

Customer :

Ok, because I do not doubt I said that, but it would have been in 09 or earler

Steven Kincaid :

If you think you know what county she might be in, you can contact the courthouses and see if any case was filed. (Some may have the records available online). You can also check in TN but most women get the protective order wherever they go to.

Customer :

Right, and I have no idea where she is at, and since one of the two biggies was control, I want to give her her space, and more importantly, some of her control back, at least as a very, very small gesture that I got the message

Customer :

And as far as the PTSD since you mentioned it, The va should be able to properly diagnose that, correct? I have always been very very ashamed to admit i might have that as it feels like admitting a weakness, but i am trying to exhaust every available avenue for help I can utilize

Customer :

Can i click accept and still continue to ask the few questions I have?

Steven Kincaid :

Any medical center with psychiatrists should be able to diagnose PTSD

Steven Kincaid :

One other thing, anger management and domestic violence treatment are very different and domestic violence treatment tends to be more successful.

Customer :

But wouldnt anger management classes and counsoling for the control get to the core root of the issue so I could constructivly manae both of them?

Steven Kincaid :

If you want you could look for a State Certified Domestic Violence Treatment Provider. You could. I just no that statistically, Domestic violence treatment is significantly more effective.

Steven Kincaid :

It is much more intensive treatment.

Steven Kincaid :

It really depends on what your issues are though. You can decide with your medical professional.

Customer :

I just really want to make sure I use this time, as hard as it is, and it is a hell of a lot harder then my time in the Persian gulf, and I want to make sure I am addressing the core issue. I am finally at the step where I can say i have a problem, and I want to get better and correct my behavior so it is not hurting me or my family

Customer :

Two issue are anger and control

Customer :

Wouldnt looking into domestic violence treatment just be saying hey im a dirtbag just lock me up?

Customer :

I'm sorry for all the questions but their is hardly any info out their on where to get help in this type of situation, i dont know why, i would figure they would want anyone who says they have a problem to get the help they need

Steven Kincaid :

Seeking domestic violence treatment would not subject you to any criminal action. You certainly do not have to seek domestic violence treatment, I just know it is more effective at preventing people from hurting those they love. If you are having black outs, you may have another deeper problem. I suppose any treatment you get will have its own brand of stigma, but sometimes you just need to get past the stigma and figure out what will work for you.

Customer :

so should i just stick with anger and control treatments for now, and possibly the ptsd if I get diagnosed?

Steven Kincaid :

The treatment for DV (if it is good) is not intended to make you feel guilty or bad about yourself.

Steven Kincaid :

You really should decide with the help of your mental health provider. I know about domestic violence but I do not know that much about PTSD.

Customer :

I just want to treat the woman who I hope to God will still be my wife someday with the Love, dignity, respect and adoration she deserves, and i cannot do that by myself.

Customer :

I think you answered all my questions very thouroughly one momment just need to think if I have anymore

Customer :

Only other question I have is with not knowing or trying to find where she is at, their is no way to locate if a restraining order was filed?

Steven Kincaid :

You can contact courthouses in areas where you think she may have filed. Other than that, there is really no centralized clearinghouse for finding out if she sought a restraining order.

Customer :

Alright. based on this information do you think this is something that is repairable, or no? And thank you on all the information.

Steven Kincaid :

That is so hard to say. I do know that in domestic violence situations, a survivor will leave an average of three times before they leave permanently. So, statistically, she may come back. However, many people leave only one time, so it is impossible to predict.

Customer :

Ok, she left one time before, 4 years ago, so hopefully I can change in time, thank you for all the answers, and happy new year.

Steven Kincaid :

Have a good New Year.

Steven K., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1610
Experience: I have practiced family law since 1996, focusing on child custody and domestic violence
Steven K. and 9 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you

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