Approximately one-third of women and men in Kansas experience domestic assault in their lifetimes. The numbers are even higher in Missouri. Violence committed by a member of the household is often easily hidden behind closed doors.
If you or a child in your home are victims of domestic abuse, the law can help protect you. At Rundberg Law, LLC, I help victims obtain violence protection orders in Overland Park and Johnson County, Kansas, as well as in Missouri. No one should have to live in fear. If you are ready to stop the violence, let me help.
Kansas law defines domestic violence as abuse committed against a member of the household or family. Abuse includes causing or attempting to cause bodily injury or threatening someone with immediate injury. It also includes having or attempting to have sexual contact without consent or having sexual contact or intercourse with someone under the age of 16 who is not the perpetrator’s spouse.
Missouri’s legal definition includes stalking and committing or attempting to commit assault, battery, coercion, harassment, sexual assault, and unlawful imprisonment by a member of the family or household. The law also prohibits causing or attempting to harm a pet to cause distress to a family or household member.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you need to take action immediately to protect yourself by obtaining a protective order.
In Kansas, you can ask law enforcement to request an emergency protection from abuse order from a judge on call if you are in immediate danger when the courts are closed. In both Kansas and Missouri, you can request an ex parte order of protection from the court which means the judge hears only your side of the story. This restraining order would be valid until a hearing is scheduled and both sides have an opportunity to present their case to the court. An order issued as a result is referred to as a final protection from abuse order in Kansas and a full order of protection in Missouri.
Emergency and temporary orders can prohibit the abuser from committing or threatening to commit abuse, keep them from communicating with you, prohibit them from entering the home, and award temporary custody of children or possessions. A final or full order can award custody, child support, spousal support, order the abuser to pay certain expenses—such as rent, medical bills, and attorney’s fees—and order the abuser to undergo treatment.
There are also cases where the person against whom you file for an order of protection files for a counter-order. The judge would hear both sides with the option of not issuing a protective order to either party, issuing an order against one of the two, or issuing a mutual order protecting both parties from the other.
If you are an adult being abused by a family or household member, you can file for an order of protection.
If the victim is a minor under the age of 18 in Kansas, the child’s parent or an adult who lives in the home with the child may petition the court for a protective order.
In Missouri, if the victim is under the age of 17, the child’s parent or guardian, a court-appointed guardian ad litem or special advocate, or a juvenile officer can petition the court. Victims 17 or older can petition on their own behalf.
Victims do not need a lawyer to file for an emergency or ex parte order of protection to protect them from immediate danger. However, having an attorney represent you in a hearing for a full or final order helps you present a compelling case for your need for protection and to defend you against a counterclaim. Your attorney also provides a buffer between you and your abuser during the legal process.
You do not need to wait until you file for an order to retain an attorney. If you have been a victim of abuse and have questions about petitioning for a protective order, consult with an attorney right away. The guidance of an experienced lawyer can reduce your anxiety and fear and give you the support you need to seek an end to the abuse.
Remember, a full or final order of protection can include the requirement that your abuser pays your attorney’s fees.
Physical and emotional health and well-being are at risk for every victim of domestic violence. What may seem to be minor at first can escalate into something life-threatening if victims do not get help in time. If you are a victim in immediate danger, petition for an emergency order. If you are not in immediate danger but need protection for yourself or a child, call Rundberg Law, LLC. I have helped victims of domestic abuse in Overland Park and Johnson County, Kansas, as well as Missouri, use the law to obtain protection against their abusers.