Q: Does the domestic violence victim have the right to meet with a judge to file a legal complaint against their spouse?
Good friend in Massachusetts is the spouse and husband in a domestic violent relationship. Recently asked for divorce in a 22 yr marriage, 4 kids (1 left in the house age 13) and the spouse is physically and emotionally abused. Recently unemployed, and wife does not work. Since asking for divorce, physical violence against the husband has escalated to slapping (minor compared to using a paint can as a weapon on him in the past or throwing dishes at him) and throwing objects, daily stalking to and from their home and other controlling behavior (she will use the kids to control him). Is there a resource he can use to file a complaint or document these behaviors with a judge to add strength to reasons why he should obtain full custody of his kids and get of out of this situation?
A: No- he does not have any right to meet with a judge privately if that is what you mean. He also needs to proceed very carefully documenting the wifes abuse and outbursts too as in 2 seconds she will turn it around on him and claim he has abused her. And it is likely when a woman claims abuse that it will be believed. If he has any marks from any abuse he should photograph before they heel. he should write up the date and timee of each aspect of abuse and any text messages between them if she has apologised or 'owned' it in any ay and email them to a friend or two and then get it off his computer especially where the wife is stalking etc. MGL ch 272 sec 99 prohibits secret rercording of private conversations, and marital priveleg also presents problems of conversations just between them. IF he were to record her he is taking the chance that he could possibly be charged with violation of the wiretap statute, but that doing so may be the best means to protect himself from her claims of abuse. he should be sure his divorce lawyer knows everything going on and is involved in the problem resolution too. It seems that there are some situations where protecting yourself from one harm at risk of a less serves the greater good. IF the wife gets a restraining order first or gets wind of his claims she will run in and turn the tables on him claiming she is abused. That will impact him in probate court for getting unsupervised visitation nevermind custody. He can apply for a restraining order but absent some proof he could lose as well. Has he ever reported the abuse to a therapist? primary care physician? texted anyone just after? reported the injury? These are all factors that enhancec his ability to be beleived. There is often marked gender bias in these situations so he needs to be careful. Good luck.
A: Your friend needs top ASAP either an abuse protection order out of the district court for the city or town he lives in or the probate and family court for the county in which he resides. He should also seriously consider filing for divorce and moving out of the house . His moving out does not affect his rights in divorce and he should have a divorce attorney ASAP and meet with one right now!!! There is no private meeting with the judge. These are legal proceedings. Without court intervention nothing is going to happen. One doesn't just ask for a divorce and wait for the other person to proceed.
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