Domestic abuse is defined by two codes in the state of Iowa, Iowa Code § 236.2 and Iowa Code § 708.1. An assault is (1) any act intended to cause pain or injury to another, (2) any action intended to place another person in fear of immediate physical contact of a certain nature, or (3) the pointing of a firearm at another person. Both (1) and (2) must be coupled with the apparent ability to execute the act. There are five circumstances in which an assault becomes domestic abuse, which include:
- An assault between family or household members who resided together at the time of the assault
- An assault between separated spouses or persons divorced from each other and not living together at the time of the assault
- An assault between persons who are parents of the same minor child, regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time
- An assault between persons who have been family or household members residing together within the past year and are not living together at the time of the assault
- An assault between persons who are in an intimate relationship or have been in an intimate relationship and have had contact within the past year of the assault
An intimate relationship is determined by the court after considering factors like:
- The duration of the relationship
- The frequency of interaction
- Whether the relationship was terminated
- The nature of the relationship as characterized by either party’s expectation of sexual or romantic involvement.
State law provides that a person can be involved in intimate relationships with more than one person at one time.
Chapter 236 of the Iowa Code is dedicated to domestic abuse, and victims of domestic abuse are afforded numerous rights in these situations. Domestic abuse victims can file civil actions known as protective orders or restraining orders. A protection order in a divorce case may last indefinitely.
Victims of domestic abuse understandably have a number of fears and concerns about taking divorce actions, which makes it important for them to retain legal counsel and contact Arenson Law Group, PC as soon as possible. Our firm understands the sensitivity of these situations, and we can examine your case when you call (319) 363-8199 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Do I Need A Domestic Abuse Lawyer?
Victims of domestic abuse are often very interested in getting a divorce to get out of their marriages, but they often have fears about taking the necessary actions in these cases. An attorney is going to be able to assist you by handling all of the needed legal paperwork and being by your side the entire time so you have nothing to fear in regard to the process of seeking protection.
Protection orders are extremely important to domestic abuse victims, and Iowa law provides that plaintiffs in domestic abuse actions are not expected to pay any court costs such as filing fees, service costs, or any other fees. A judge may order a defendant to pay these costs when they can pay, but a court cannot order a plaintiff in a domestic abuse action to pay the costs.
A lawyer is going to be able to help you obtain the protection order you need to protect your safety and can then get started on helping you finalize your divorce paperwork as well. An attorney will be able to assist you in either getting an abusive spouse out of your home or helping you find a new place to live.
You will want to make sure that you have a lawyer when your divorce involves other complicating issues, such as child custody. An attorney will be able to help you secure an outcome that not only helps to protect your long-term security but also serves all of your best interests.
Why Choose Arenson Law Group, PC To Handle My Domestic Abuse Case?
James H. Arenson has been licensed in Iowa for more than two decades and is a member of the Linn County Bar Association, Iowa State Bar Referral Service of the Iowa State Bar Association, American Bar Association, and Iowa Automobile Dealers Association. James W. Radig is admitted to all state courts in Iowa and South Dakota as well as the U.S. District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa and the U.S. District Court of South Dakota.
John W. Hofmeyer IV is admitted to practice in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and is a member of the American Bar Association, Iowa State Bar Association, and Jefferson Society, Inc. Michelle L. Arenson is a member of the Linn County Bar Association, Iowa State Bar Association, National Association of Dealer Counsel, and American Wind Energy Association.
Top Lawyers named Justin D. Riem one of the Three Best Rated in 2019, and he is licensed in both Iowa and Minnesota.
Our firm handles divorce cases all over Iowa, but we primarily serve people in Linn County, Benton County, Johnson County, Cedar County, Black Hawk County, Jones County, and Buchanan County. We understand that domestic abuse victims are facing far more significant challenges and concerns about personal welfare than most other people seeking a divorce, and Arenson Law Group, PC will work to make sure that you are protected and that your rights are respected.
Types of Domestic Abuse Cases We Handle
Many domestic abuse victims will want to get protection orders that can protect them and their children. A domestic abuse order is a civil action that is not the same as a criminal case.
Protection orders can establish a number of terms, but the most common usually include:
- Order the abuser to cease domestic abuse
- Award temporary custody of children
- Establish provisions relating to supervised, restricted, unrestricted, or no visitation privileges with children
- Order abuser to pay support to the victim and any children under 18 years of age
- Order abuser to move out of family home or provide suitable alternate housing to the victim
- Award possession of the vehicle to the victim
- Order abuser stays away from the victim’s residence, school, and place of work
- Mandate professional counseling for children in a household where domestic abuse occurred
- Mandate professional counseling for victim and abuser
- Mandate that abuser receive professional counseling without requiring the presence of the victim
While most protection orders are only in effect for a limited time, a protection order in a divorce case could last indefinitely. A person is allowed to proceed with a divorce even if a protection order was obtained in a criminal or civil domestic abuse proceeding.
Domestic Abuse Resources in Cedar Rapids
The City of Cedar Rapids lists the following resources for victims of domestic abuse:
- Cedar Valley Friends of the Family — Cedar Valley Friends of the Family has a mission to “provide safe shelter, confidential services, and housing assistance to individuals in crisis due to homelessness, domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.” It offers domestic abuse housing and sheltering services and has been helping Iowans since 1992.
- Waypoint Services — Waypoint has been helping individuals in crisis for more than 120 years. Its domestic violence support services include a 24/7 domestic violence resource and support line.
- Deaf Iowans Against Abuse — Deaf Iowans Against Abuse has a crisis hotline, offers one-on-one counseling, and provides housing advocacy and support. The website states that 50 percent of deaf individuals are victims of relationship violence.
- Dependent Adult Protective Services (APS) — APS receives reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of dependent adults, and concerns of possible abuse are evaluated or assessed by the Iowa Department of Human Services’ (DHS). The program attempts to provide for the safety and protection of victims of maltreatment, and it helps locate community supports for victim needs.
- Horizons Survivors Program — Located in Cedar Rapids, Horizons has several community outreach programs that include family support programs and a survivors program. It also has a mental health program.
- Iowa Crime Victim Compensation Program — The Crime Victim Compensation Program helps victims of violent crimes, such as domestic abuse, with various out-of-pocket expenses related to injuries from violent crimes. Use this website to obtain an application for benefits.
- Iowa Victim Information & Notification Everyday (IowaVINE) — IowaVINE is a free and anonymous telephone service that provides victims of crime with information and notification. IowaVINE provides information about an offender’s apprehension, transfer, release, escape, or death.
Domestic abuse victims should also be aware of the multiple shelters located in the city, which include:
Madge Phillips Center-Waypoint
318 5th St SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
Catholic Worker House
1027 5th Ave SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
Willis Dady Shelter
1247 4th Ave SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
Mission of Hope Shelter House
211 Park Ct SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
Contact a Domestic Abuse Attorney in Cedar Rapids
Domestic abuse can be an extremely frightening situation for any person to deal with, but individuals who have been the victims of domestic abuse should not let fear prevent them from taking the actions needed to end an unhappy and dangerous marriage or needed to protect themselves in any situation afforded protections as described above. Contact Arenson Law Group, PC to speak with an understanding and knowledgeable domestic abuse lawyer in Cedar Rapids today.
Our firm will take all of the necessary steps to ensure your protection and we will be able to put you in a place of greater comfort before we begin divorce proceedings. Call (319) 363-8199 or contact us online to receive a free consultation from one of our compassionate Cedar Rapids divorce attorneys today.
Written by James H. ArensonLast Updated : October 24, 2023