Where Family Law and Criminal Law Intersect – Assault-Family Violence Cases

Happy Friday again everybody, hope you had a great week. This week we’re continuing our series on when the worlds of criminal law and family law intertwine. And this week we’ll be looking specifically at assault family violence cases. We see these go hand-in-hand with nasty and contentious divorce cases all the time. It’s a sad, sad situation, but it is one that is relatively common.

So the first thing you need to know if you’re going through a divorce, or anybody that you know is going through a divorce and there are allegations of assault, be they formal, police records have been filed, criminal charges have been filed. Or they’ve simply made the allegation in the pleadings alone, it’s imperative that you sit down and talk with a criminal lawyer about what that means, what those cases can entail, what to watch out for, and to have that criminal lawyer on standby and retained to help navigate those waters with the DA, and do everything in our power to keep the divorce where it belongs, in the civil realm, rather than coming over to a criminal court where criminal proceedings are going to be initiated against you. Because at that point, it’s really hard to un-ring that bell.

And it would probably come as no surprise that if there are either pending criminal charges, or even worse, a criminal conviction on your record for assault or any type of domestic violence case, your family law case is going to suffer a great, great deal. Whether it be in terms of child support, custody arrangements, visitations, whatever. You’re going to have some really severe ramifications on the family law side if you don’t take care of those criminal allegations the right way.

So when we have a case like this, that has a family law component and a criminal law component like an assault family violence, it’s important that we work hand-in-hand with the family lawyers that are representing the same client. That’s why when clients come in and they have these situations, I will always refer them out to a family lawyer who I know, who I trust, who I’ve worked with or have a relationship with, so that I know that while I’m looking out for their best interests criminally, this lawyer who knows what they’re doing is looking out for their best interest on the family law side.

So it’s important that we work hand-in-hand with the family lawyer so we maintain that communication and we stay on the same page about what needs to happen.

So the first thing to know is, like I said, get a criminal lawyer. The second thing to know is, do not file any pleadings in the family law case that make affirmative statements about what did or did not happen. No affidavits, no pleadings to the best that you can avoid it. You don’t want to file anything affirmatively until you consult with that criminal lawyer.

And along those lines, you certainly don’t want to sit down for a deposition, or attend a hearing and testify under oath unless you have consulted with, and have that criminal lawyer with you. Because there are certain things that a family lawyer may not necessarily be on the lookout for, but nevertheless can really, really hurt you on the criminal side.

You might win that family law hearing. You might win that battle, but you ultimately lose the war because you said something under oath that can then be used against you on the criminal side, that’s going to support a conviction and it’s going to screw everything up.

So if you’ve got a family law case where there’s any allegations of abuse, whether it’s against the spouse or a child or anybody like that, first things first, get a criminal lawyer on board. Let us help you. Let us work with the family lawyer. Let us figure out how to best protect you and all of your interests.

Stay tuned. Next week we’re going to go into another topic about this, this criminal law family law intersection. As always, if you have any questions or you have any topics that you want to see covered that have come up in your case, please reach out via phone, email, text, whatever. Let me know, and I’d be happy to discuss them either here or with you in-person. Hope you have a great weekend and we’ll see you next week.

Author Bio

James P. Whalen

James P. Whalen is the managing attorney and founder of Whalen Law Office, a Texas criminal defense firm offering personalized legal representation for various federal criminal charges. With a commitment to providing comfort and guidance during challenging times, Mr. Whalen serves as both an attorney and counselor to his clients, helping them navigate their cases while striving to restore normalcy to their lives.

In an inherently unbalanced criminal justice system, Mr. Whalen takes on cases with unwavering dedication. With decades of legal experience, he offers representation across various criminal charges, including white-collar crimes, violent crimes, drug charges, and more. Mr. Whalen’s numerous accolades, including Super Lawyer recognition and board certification in Criminal Appellate Law and Criminal Law, reflect his unwavering commitment to ethical and high-quality legal representation.

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