Washington state took an impressive measure to better protect domestic violence survivors by working to end abusive litigation during 2020. Governor Inslee signed SB 6268 into law on April 2, 2020. This historic abusive litigation prevention measure went into effect on January 1, 2021.
In this blog post, you will learn more about what abusive litigation is, why this law is so important for domestic violence survivors in Washington, and some of your options if you are involved in a dangerous relationship.
What Is Abusive Litigation?
Abusive litigation is what happens when the legal system is used by someone to harass or abuse another person. In relationships involving domestic violence or stalking, the domestic violence survivor may decide to pursue a no-contact order. To retaliate, the perpetrator may begin to use the court system to harass the survivor. The end-goal of the perpetrator is to control, harass, abuse, and continue to contact the survivor.
Of course, the perpetrator never wants anyone, not even the court, to see it in that manner. Washington state recognized this. That is what eventually led to the passing of this particular law.
When domestic violence occurs in Washington state, victims and survivors have options they can exercise based on whether they live with the perpetrator, are married to the perpetrator, live apart from the perpetrator, or are separated or divorced from the perpetrator. If the domestic victim or survivor shares a child with the perpetrator, there are specific court orders that may be put in place to protect the victim or survivor while allowing some type of visitation to take place if it is safe for the child. A family violence attorney or domestic violence lawyer can help victims or survivors better understand their options.
The following is an example of abusive litigation. It is meant as an educational example and should not be construed as the only way that abusive litigation in Washington state may occur or as legal advice.
A domestic violence survivor obtains a no-contact order from the court and begins to rebuild their life. The perpetrator who is named in the no contact order files multiple small claims lawsuits against the survivor, all of which are dismissed by the court because they have no merit (it is clear to the judge that there is no reason for the lawsuit to have been filed at the time it is heard). Perhaps instead the perpetrator attempts to file one or more allegations of fraud against the survivor alleging that the granting of the no-contact order happened because of fraudulent statements.
Abuse of litigation is one more way that perpetrators of domestic violence in Washington state continue to keep control over their victims. It costs survivors and victims a substantial amount of money to continue to fight these lawsuits all while having to continue to see the person they so bravely took the right legal steps to protect themselves from.
In Washington state, domestic violence is a serious problem. Even after you leave, abusive litigation is still a threat despite it being against the law. A domestic violence lawyer can help you get a no-contact order or the right domestic violence protection you need. To learn more about your legal rights as a domestic violence survivor, schedule your free consultation with the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers now.
Disclaimer: This publication is not legal advice. It is intended as legal information only. For legal advice specific to your needs, contact the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers, PS at 800-972-0411.
Posted March 2021