New York residents often change relationships over the course of their lives. Whether they date several people before they marry, spend their lives in unmarried partnerships or enter into subsequent marriages after ending prior unions, many people do not spend their lives with the first people they form intimate relationships with.

Domestic violence is a problem that plagues all types of personal and intimate relationships. It occurs between individuals who bind their lives together in marriage, those who form relationships without legal commitments and those who previously shared intimacy but who ended their affiliations. Because domestic violence can extend beyond the ending of a relationship, a person who was formerly married to their abuser may still claim domestic violence protections in the courts of New York.

Both the civil and criminal courts of the state may be involved in domestic violence matters. In an attempt to facilitate relief for individuals suffering from abuse at the hands of their current and former partners, victims of domestic violence may seek a protective order from either court system. It does not matter if they no longer live with or are no longer married to their abusers: victims of domestic violence are victims even if they are separated or divorced from their abusers.

Domestic violence may also occur between individuals who share children or individuals who share blood relationships, such as those between children and parents, children and grandparents and similar connections. There are significant legal penalties that may attach to abusers, but victims often must step forward in order to seek protection from and justice against their abusers. With the help of an attorney, victims of domestic violence are often able to take proactive steps to end the pattern of violence that affects their lives.