Domestic Family Violence South Africa

Abuse isn’t just about bruises. Not all forms of abuse leave bruises where we can see them,Domestic Family Violence in South Africa . Although physical abuse is terrifying and needs to be addressed immediately there are other forms of abuse that can cause significant damage. One type of abuse that is very difficult for outsiders to detect is financial abuse. Marriage should be a partnership but when one spouse completely dominates the finances to the point that the other spouse has no control and no options financial abuse may be occurring.

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What Are Signs of Potential Financial Abuse?

Every married couple handles their finances differently. In some cases one spouse handles the majority of the finances. They manage the accounts, pay the bills and deal with creditors. That does not by itself equal financial abuse.

Financial abuse occurs when one spouse is treated like an irresponsible child and Domestic Violence Effects . They are cut off from funds and their knowledge about the couple’s finances is severely limited. Some signs of financial abuse include:

•Strict Allowances. This isn’t an amount that the spouses have agreed to limit themselves to but is instead a set amount that is grudgingly handed out from one spouse to the other and is all that will be given.

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Documents, documents, documents. Written evidence is incredibly strong and can range from credit card bills showing that there is a credit card but that you aren’t named on it to emails from your spouse that show the financial abuse.

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Other witnesses can be incredibly powerful on your behalf. Financial abuse is hard for people outside the relationship to detect. So when someone credible comes in and tells the judge that it is happening and they can see it the judge will listen and Domestic Violence Facts .

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Abuse isn't just about bruises. Not all forms of abuse leave bruises where we can see them. Although physical abuse is terrifying and needs to be addressed immediately there are other forms of abuse that can cause significant damage. One type of abuse that is very difficult for outsiders to detect is financial abuse. Marriage should be a partnership but when one spouse completely dominates the finances to the point that the other spouse has no control and no options financial abuse may be occurring.

Signs of Potential Financial Abuse

Every married couple handles their finances differently. In some cases one spouse handles the majority of the finances. They manage the accounts, pay the bills and deal with creditors. That does not by itself equal financial abuse.

Financial abuse occurs when one spouse is treated like an irresponsible child. They are cut off from funds and their knowledge about the couple's finances is severely limited. Some signs of financial abuse include:

•Strict Allowances. This isn't an amount that the spouses have agreed to limit themselves to but is instead a set amount that is grudgingly handed out from one spouse to the other and is all that will be given.

Documents, documents, documents. Written evidence is incredibly strong and can range from credit card bills showing that there is a credit card but that you aren't named on it to emails from your spouse that show the financial abuse.

Other witnesses can be incredibly powerful on your behalf. Financial abuse is hard for people outside the relationship to detect. So when someone credible comes in and tells the judge that it is happening and they can see it the judge will listen.

What Is Financial Abuse By A Spouse?

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Domestic Violence charges are treated differently than most other criminal cases because from the outset of the charge, not the conviction, it is very likely that you will have your home and your children taken from you. We are supposed to have a criminal system where you are innocent until proven guilty but as you will discover that is not the case with Domestic Violence charges. This survival guide will help explain the system you're up against and how to get through it.

  • Do not plead guilty at Arraignment. Arraignment is the first formal court appearance in a criminal case. During this hearing, you will be formally notified of the criminal charge against you and given the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. DO NOT PLEAD GUILTY! This is obvious in cases where you do not believe you've done anything wrong but is also true in cases where you do think you've done something wrong. There is no benefit in pleading guilty up front but there may be costs in doing so.

Some inexperienced people mistakenly believe that if they plead guilty at arraignment, they will get a lighter sentence than if they plead guilty later. This is incorrect. The reverse is much more common; you will likely get sentenced harder if you plead guilty up front.

If you decide to plead guilty later, the Judge will not use the fact that you pled not guilty initially against you. By pleading not guilty at Arraignment, what you are really saying to the Judge is that you want a chance to see what evidence the Prosecutor has and if you feel it is sufficient to prove your guilt then you want a chance to negotiate with the Prosecutor for a better outcome.

  • Pre-Trial No Contact Orders. In most criminal cases, a Judge will issue an order directing the Defendant not have any contact with the alleged victim. In Domestic Violence cases, that order can be extended to the victim's home, place of work, and children. These orders are issued before there is a finding of guilt and can render a Defendant homeless. If you work at the same place as your spouse then you might just find yourself out of a job too. Whether or not the children were involved with the incident, you can be prohibited from seeing them.

Stipulated Orders of Continuance / Pre-Trial Diversion Agreements

These are contracts, nothing more. You make an agreement with the Prosecutor's Office to do (and not do) certain things, like entering a Domestic Violence Treatment Program and stay out of trouble. If you comply with the contract, the case is dismissed.

Reduced Charge

It is often possible to get a Domestic Violence charge re-filed as a different, less serious, charge. The factors involved are: the facts of the current case, the Defendant's criminal history, and the position of the alleged victim. Examples of reduced charges are: Disorderly Conduct or Simple Assault without the DV tag.

  • Only the State can bring criminal charges. With any criminal charge, including Domestic Violence, only the State can bring the charge - not the alleged victim in your case. This means that even if the person labeled "victim" wants the No Contact Order or the entire case to simply go away, they don't have the power to dismiss it; only the Prosecutor does
  • Joint Bank Accounts. Be aware that some Victims Advocates are advising alleged victims to drain joint bank accounts. This advice leaves Defendants in the impossible position of becoming suddenly homeless due to the no contact order and penniless.
  • Gun Rights. Conviction for a crime labeled Domestic Violence will forfeit your rights to own or possess firearm for the rest of your life. This is true even in cases where no gun was used, threatened, mentioned or even owned by the defendant.
Conclusion

Because of the nature of Domestic Violence charges, you need to find an attorney that understands the complexity of these charges and what you can do about them. If you have questions specific to your case, please give me a call. I do not charge money for an initial consultation and I can answer many questions over the phone or via email.

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