Final approval was recently given for the creation of a specialized court in the state of Oklahoma to exclusively handle domestic violence cases. The bill in question, House Bill 1121, grants district courts as well as some municipal courts in Oklahoma the power to establish a domestic violence program to increase the efficiency with which domestic violence cases are heard. The bill, however, must now be signed by Governor Mary Fallin.but would significantly change how domestic violence cases in Oklahoma are heard.
The Advantages Offered by this Legislation
There are some unique advantages to the creation of this new court system including the following:
- Cases Heard by Only One Court. Courts could hear all issues related to one domestic violence case, which would greatly speed up these issues and allow courts to make much more informed decisions. As a result, a judge would have an intricate understanding of all relevant divorce orders, maintenance orders, and protective orders.
- Less Require Hearing. Individuals facing a domestic violence case would be required to attend fewer court hearings if these events are scheduled together. Having less required hearings would also make domestic violence cases much simpler for victims who are already faced with the difficulty of dealing with these violent acts. Currently, the court system in Oklahoma can result in domestic violence victims having to go to courts four or five times for a domestic violence issue.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence
Applicable law in the state of Oklahoma states that domestic violence includes many types of acts. Domestic violence can encompass threatening gestures that make a person fear being harmed or physical contact with another person. To be considered domestic violence, these acts must be committed by current or former spouses, family members, people who live in the same household, and adopted or biological parents.
The Current Court System in Oklahoma
Currently, the court system in Oklahoma does not have a system to focus solely on domestic violence. A civil court in Oklahoma hears non-criminal issues like divorce and child custody. These courts also have the authority to issue restraining orders, which are enforceable order that if violated can result in a person being placed in prison. Law in the state of Oklahoma requires victims of domestic violence to file a protection order in the court where the domestic violence occurred, the abuser lives, or where the victim resides. The victims of domestic violence are also able to initiate a lawsuit in civil court against the person who committed the act.
Contact a Seasoned Oklahoma Family Lawyer
While there are some unique advantages to this new proposed court system, courts will not be required to establish separate domestic violence courts. Instead, courts will merely be required to establish frameworks to hear these cases in the event that the county chooses to use this system. If you are involved in a domestic violence case, the assistance of a skilled family law attorney can prove essential. Do not hesitate to contact Attorney Jim A. Lyon today.