"If you feel you are basically living the life of a victim in your own home, whether it is an emotional victim or a financial victim or sometimes a domestic violence victim, a physical victim, then you may be asking yourself "There is nothing I can do, what can I do?" Well, I'll tell you one thing you can do and you should do – if you are a victim of domestic violence, you get yourself to an attorney immediately. If you cannot afford an attorney, then go to the courthouse immediately. Many of the courthouses in Los Angeles County have family law self-help centers, they have domestic violence specialized self-help centers. In Ventura County they have this, in Orange County. Domestic violence will not be tolerated in the state of California.
It is the number one priority in the courthouse – not child support, not spousal support, not custody – domestic violence. It takes priority, so if you're a victim of domestic violence, get yourself to court and get yourself some orders, you'll get them. If you can afford to hire an attorney to help you with it, do that.
If your a victim of emotional abuse or financial abuse and it is not as clear-cut as what we were just talking about, it is a slightly different story. There are risks involved, financial risks, and emotional risks involved in going through a divorce with a spouse who is unpredictable and someone who you are afraid of.
If you are sitting at home scared to death about what is going to happen, you're not thinking as clearly as you could and you really need someone to help you do that and an experienced family law attorney can do that for you. Even if you don't have the money to get started, if there is money out there, if there is money to be found, an experienced attorney with the help of the court should be able to get it for you, to get you into the court so that you can get relief. And if you are afraid that your spouse is going to sell all the property the minute you file for divorce, there are even automatic temporary restraining orders that go into effect once your spouse is served with the divorce petition. They are effective upon you and they are effective upon that person as well. You can't cancel insurance, they can't cancel bank accounts, they can't transfer assets. So there are protections the system has developed for people who are in your situation. You are not alone, there is help out there for you."
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