If you have experienced domestic violence, you need a reputable and experienced domestic violence attorney to handle your case.
Let us protect you and your family.
Why You Need Susan Gibson as Your Domestic Violence Lawyer
Standing between you and your abuser.
Susan Gibson is your Bucks County domestic violence lawyer with almost 15 years of experience exclusively practicing family law. She knows what you’re going through and how to help, which could include filing a Protection From Abuse order or pressing criminal charges.
Here’s how Susan Gibson helps your case:
She’ll Handle Your Case with Compassion
Domestic violence is an emotional, harrowing experience. Susan Gibson will handle your case with compassion and understanding. She can guide you through the process to file a Protection from Abuse Order and represent you in Court at those proceedings.
Attorney Gibson isn’t just your lawyer; she genuinely wants to see you made whole again.
She’ll Keep You Informed
She’ll explain the legal process, help you file the necessary paperwork, and offer the information you need to make decisions about your domestic violence case.
Susan Gibson won’t leave you in the dark when handling your case.
She Knows Domestic Violence Laws
Domestic violence can be a complex legal issue. Susan Gibson is your Pennsylvania domestic violence attorney in Bucks County.
She understands the law and will defend your rights in court.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence?
Pennsylvania defines domestic violence as one or more of the following acts committed “between family or household members, sexual or intimate partners or persons who share biological parenthood”:
- Attempting to cause or “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury, sexual assault, rape, incest, or indecent assault” with or without a weapon.
- Causing reasonable fear of imminent bodily injury.
- Falsely imprisoning a household or family member.
- Abusing a child physically or sexually.
- Repeatedly committing acts against a household or family member that continually causes fear of imminent bodily injury or harm.
If you have experienced any form of abuse from the list above, you can file a domestic violence case with the court in Pennsylvania.
What Are Your Options When You Experience Abuse?
Your situation isn’t hopeless, and people are here to help.
If you have experienced domestic violence, you are not alone. According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience violence by an intimate partner.
Whether you experienced abuse from a romantic partner, parent, relative, or other close relation in Pennsylvania, you can seek help from both the authorities and the court to resolve the situation.
A Woman’s Place is Bucks County’s only domestic violence organization and provides victims of violence a wealth of support and resources. Through Susan’s community involvement, she is a strong supporter of A Woman’s Place and is a member of BWNice, which provides fundraising and other support to A Woman’s Place.
An experienced domestic abuse attorney can help you press charges against your abuser, which may lead to them paying a significant fine, facing arrest, or possibly being incarcerated.
Filing for Divorce
If you are married to your abuser, you may decide to file for divorce on the grounds of domestic violence. A domestic violence lawyer can also help you through this process and ensure your needs are met.
Ordering Your Abuser to Leave the Home
You can also discuss child custody with your domestic violence attorney if you and your abuser have children together. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your abuser may be court-ordered to leave your residence to protect your safety and the safety of the children.
Domestic Violence & Child Custody
We’ll make sure your children stay safe too
If you and your abuser have children, you can petition the court for custody of the children involved or if the abuse involves the children, the Protection from Abuse Order can prevent this abuser from seeing the children or require them to only see them under supervision.
Requirements to File for Child Custody
To file for child custody in Pennsylvania, you and your child must have lived in the state for at least six months. Then, you can file for physical custody, legal custody, or both.
Physical Custody Vs. Legal Custody
Physical custody allows your child to live with you in a residence, and legal custody enables you to make significant decisions about your child’s life, from healthcare and schooling to religious practices.
The Court Considers the Child’s Best Interests
The court then determines custody based on the best interests of the child. If you have domestic violence charges or a case pending against a spouse, partner, or co-parent, the court considers this when determining a custody agreement.
An experienced attorney can help you with the intricacies of child custody laws and file the appropriate paperwork on your behalf.
The Domestic Violence Court Process
If you have experienced domestic violence in Pennsylvania and are over 18 years old, a first step to seeking justice is filing for a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA). A PFA is a legal document signed by a judge that offers legal and civil protections from further domestic violence by your abuser.
If your abuser violates the protection order, you can report the violation to the police and the court. Your abuser may then face arrest and other criminal charges.
While filing a PFA does not require a lawyer, having a domestic violence attorney like Susan Gibson on your side can help make the process smoother and more understandable.
After you file a PFA, your attorney can help you decide if you would like to press criminal charges for domestic violence.
Pursuing Criminal Charges for Domestic Violence
You have the right to press criminal charges against your abuser for domestic violence. Once you make a complaint with law enforcement, a prosecutor can file the appropriate criminal charges against your abuser.
Charges Vary with Each Case
The charges against your abuser will vary depending on your circumstances, including relationship type and the form of abuse you experienced. Your abuser may face arrest, fines, and possibly incarceration.
You May Be Entitled to Compensation
Along with pressing criminal charges, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency can help survivors of domestic violence seek compensation.
Even though Pennsylvania has a to sue an abuser to receive financial compensation for “circulat[ing] intimate or sexual images with the intent of annoying, harassing, or alarming the victim”, a victim can also pursue of protection orders related to Sexual Violence and Intimidation if they meet the criteria of those statutes.
Talk to your domestic abuse attorney to determine if you can seek damages here in Bucks County.
Domestic Violence FAQs
Domestic violence can be painful, traumatic, and hard to discuss. We’re here to answer some common questions about domestic violence.
What Resources are Available if I’m Experiencing Domestic Violence?
The Department of Human Resources in Pennsylvania can provide you with victim’s assistance to help you decide your next steps. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence can also offer help, including safety planning, strategies for reporting to the authorities, crisis counseling, and other aid.
If you’re in an emergency, call 911 or the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
What is a Domestic Violence Safety Plan?
The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines a safety plan as “a personalized, practical plan to improve your safety while experiencing abuse, preparing to leave an abusive situation, or after you leave.” Domestic violence victims try to leave their abusive partners many times before they are ready and able to leave. Having a plan in place for when you are ready is paramount to keep you safe as you leave your abusive partner.
This includes your physical, mental, emotional, and financial safety and any children, pets, or other dependents.
You can develop a plan alone or with a trusted family member or friend, a professional domestic violence counselor, or your attorney.
How Can I Protect My Children?
To help ensure your children’s safety in a domestic violence situation:
- Teach your kids how, when, and who to contact in an emergency.
- Identify a “safe space” in your home where your children can go for comfort and safety if they are afraid or upset.
- Agree on a secret code word that lets your children know an emergency has occurred and that they need to leave the house or contact the police.
- Seek family counseling to help you and your children process the complicated emotions that come with domestic violence.
- Contact your Bucks County attorney to seek child custody and/or child support to help ensure your child’s safety in the present and the future.
Let Gibson Family Law, PLLC Protect You & Your Family
You deserve a domestic abuse lawyer with the know-how and the empathy to protect your family and represent you in court. Attorney Susan Gibson will handle your case with care and precision. Contact us at our Doylestown office at (267) 337-6524 or fill out our contact form.
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