Houston Domestic Violence Attorney

This video features Duana Boswell-Loechel, a Family Law attorney based in Texas.

Helps Survivors With Protective Orders, Child Custody

Video Transcript:

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

If you are in danger physically and are being hit or threatened, you wanna get out of the situation quickly.

Rob Rosenthal: 

How can an attorney help victims of domestic violence? With us, we're gonna find out right now, because that's what we're going to ask on this episode of Ask The Lawyer. Hi, again, everybody. I'm Rob Rosenthal with AskTheLawyers.com, and my guest is Houston Attorney Duana Boswell-Loechel. I wanna remind you right at the front that if you'd like to ask Duana questions of your own, it's easy. Just go to AskTheLawyers.com, click the button at the top that says Ask a Lawyer and it'll walk you right through the process right there. Or you can just call the phone number you'll see on the screen during our conversation. Duana, it's good to see you again. Thank you for helping us out and answering our questions.

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

Sure thing, thank you.

Rob Rosenthal: 

So tell me about your experience. Have you been doing this very long, and then is this a very common part of your practice as far as helping people who are victims of domestic abuse?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

I've been practicing for 17 years here in the Houston area, and it's always been a part of my practice. I worked for Legal Aid for a little while, I was actually in charge of one of their sexual assault grants, and so I became more involved with the sexual assault aspect of domestic violence. And when I opened my own practice here in Houston, that was a major part of what made me wanna go out on my own, was to be able to help these victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Rob Rosenthal: 

And so what's your advice? There's a spouse, has experienced family violence, what's your advice? Should they leave the house, can the abuser be made to leave the house or... What do you recommend?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

My advice is, it really depends on the degree of the abuse. If we have verbal abuse, start seeking assistance and counselling and reach out to shelters to see if they have any programs that can help you plan ahead. If you are in danger physically and are being hit or threatened, you wanna get out of the situation quickly. I believe Uber and Lyft both have programs that'll give you free rides to a shelter and shelters will help put you up and get you to a safe location. Call 911, the police will help you get out of those situations. So it's really just making sure that you get yourself to a safe spot so that you can then take the next steps.

Rob Rosenthal: 

And what are the next steps, and more specifically, at what point in this process should they contact someone like yourself to get some help?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

Once you are in a safe location, you'll wanna reach out to an attorney to determine what your rights are and to see if you qualify for a protective order to get the divorce process starting to protect your rights and to protect your children. 'Cause very often we have an abuser that's in charge of all the finances, and it's hard to reach out and get the help that you need, but there are assistant programs out there, and any attorney that's versed in the domestic violence can help get you into those resources. The domestic violence shelters can help. There's all kinds of programs out there. Police will have resources for you as well.

Rob Rosenthal: 

And what if in the situation... Say it's one of those, he said, she said situations and there's not a lot of physical evidence, can a protective order still be gotten in that situation? What do you advise?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

Protective orders can be received in those situations. They're difficult to get, especially if we don't have any police reports, if we don't have anybody that's been a witness that you've talked to, friends, family members. So in order to get a protective order, you're gonna wanna have their evidence of of the abuse. So take photos, talk to your friends, talk to your family members, talk to the police. Call the police any time somebody lays hands on you and make those reports. Even if nothing comes of them, at least you have that history established that this is going on.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Is a protective order something people can do with an attorney's help and is that a good idea or a bad idea?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

So you can get protective orders on your own. It's not a good idea because you do have to present the evidence. And it is a court case, so the person that's abusing you will have the right to question you or their attorney will and you wanna have that attorney there that's helping you and protecting you against questions that shouldn't be asked and just helping you through that process. So it's always a much better idea to have that person next to you helping you and supporting you through the process.

Rob Rosenthal: 

What if there are children involved, Duana, can the children be protected from an abusive parent?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

A lot of that depends on what the children witnessed and if they were part of the abuse. If they've been hit, if they've seen that abuse going on, there are things that can be put in place, protective orders can be put in place for a child that's been the victim of the violence. There can be restraining orders put in place, there can be orders that are put in place via court where the periods of possession are supervised. There's also protections that can be put in place in a custody battle of the exchange being taking place in a police department or just a safe location and put some safeguards in place so both the child and the victim are protected.

Rob Rosenthal: 

That was gonna be my next question. So this can be figured into child custody, if there are some reports of abuse for the children, it can be figured into child custody agreements?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

Yes, so in Texas, if somebody is found to be the perpetrator of family violence within the last two years, then the parties can be reappointed as joint managing conservators. One of them would be a sole managing, that means they get to make the rights or the decisions regarding the child's education, where they're gonna live, the psychological treatment, the decisions for the child, and they don't have to consult with the other parent. They can put in the supervised visitation provisions, they can have the parents talk through an online website instead of directly talking to each other, exchanges can take place at a monitored facility or police station. So there are things that can be played in place that protects both the child and the victim.

Rob Rosenthal: 

I could be wrong, but I don't think all family practice attorneys have this as part of their practice. Why is it so important to you, Duana, to have this... Be able to help people in this way through your practice?

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

It really touches home with me. Growing up, I was a victim of sexual abuse, and so it just puts me on that same mentality of somebody that has gone through an abusive situation. And it helps me understand exactly what they're going through, and I think that helps me advocate for them much better.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Thank you so much for making some time to answer our questions, I do appreciate it. It's been a fascinating conversation.

Duana Boswell-Loechel: 

Thank you.

Rob Rosenthal: 

And that's gonna do it for this episode of Ask The Lawyer. My guest has been Houston Attorney Duana Boswell-Loechel. I remind you, if you'd like to ask Duana questions about your situation, go to AskTheLawyers.com, click the button on the top that says Ask A Lawyer, a very simple process right there, or you can call the phone number that was on the screen during our conversation. Thanks for watching. I'm Rob Rosenthal with Ask The Lawyers.

Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.


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