We frequently have represented clients who have been living with boyfriends\girlfriends, but own their own home and are entirely responsible for the mortgage, taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc. After a CDV arrest (criminal domestic violence) they are told to have no contact with their partner, who may try to continue to reside in the home, use (or dispose) of your things and run up the utility bills. While a no contact order usually doesn't include language to avoid your own home, it will prevent you from returning there as long as the alleged victim continues to reside there.
When this happens it can put a South Carolina CDV defendant in a terrible predicament. Not only have they had to incur fees to a bail bondsman, and also legal defense costs, they are not stuck paying for a home they can't use and living out of a motel or a friend's or relative's house.
The following recommendations are typically considered in situations where the defendant and the alleged CDV victim no longer have a good relationship, and the alleged CDV victim is using the no contact order to live for free or even to steal the defendant's things.
- Request the police department accompany you to your home to retrieve your personal property. Usually the police department will do this one time. Use this as an opportunity to remove everything valuable or sentimental.
- Request your domestic violence defense attorney to assist you with filing a legal eviction to have the alleged victim removed from the home. Even though they don't have a lease and haven't paid you any rent, if they won't leave voluntarily it will take a court order to get them out.
- If you have more property than you can remove with your one law enforcement trip, or the alleged victim has changed the locks or otherwise blocks your access to your property, you will need to file a claim and delivery action to obtain a court order turning your property over. If your property exceeds $7,500 in value this would need to be done in circuit rather than magistrate's court.
- If the defendant and alleged victim are married then regardless of whose name the house is in you will need to retain a lawyer to represent you in family court to return home or gain possession of your property.
While these processes are pending it is important that a defendant not have any contact with the alleged victim that would violate a no contact order.
If the defendant and alleged CDV victim are on good terms then the remedy to this situation would either be for the alleged victim to themselves move out of the home, or to seek a modification of the no contact bond restriction.
We can help our domestic violence clients deal with the issues surrounding obtaining a modification of a no contact order, evictions, claim and delivery proceedings or assistance in the family court. To discuss what options may be appropriate for your case please contact our office for an initial consultation.