Compton & Duling recently launched a Community Champion project in support of ACTS, which offers counseling and education for community members experiencing crisis. Through its involvement with ACTS, the Prince William-based law firm is bolstering services offered to families affected by domestic abuse.
Compton & Duling Partner Maryse Allen recently did a presentation for ACTS' Adult Victim Group, helping group members to better understand the divorce process in Virginia.
“While I am unable to give specific legal advice during a presentation, I can provide insight into preventing common pitfalls,” said Allen, who heads Compton & Duling’s family law practice. “Another goal is to demystify the court process. We never want anybody to feel that they are trapped in a domestic violence situation due to lack of information or resources.”
Many of those in attendance had questions about their own situations. Often, Allen’s advice was to seek legal counsel. “The laws are constantly changing, and every case is unique,” she explained, offering resources such as the Northern Virginia Legal Services for locating reduced rate or pro bono legal services.
“In this group, we often have people who are further along in breaking the cycle of violence in their families. Knowing about what legal remedies are available to them in terms of child support and legal protections can empower the next steps in their healing and freedom,” said Cynthia M. Holmes, Domestic Violence Specialist, ACTS Domestic Violence Services.
Allen said that she is also exploring joint speaking engagements where she and a representative from ACTS would talk to churches and community groups to build awareness of domestic abuse along with resources for escaping it. “This is an issue that can affect anybody. We want to build awareness and remind people that they have options. They are not in this alone,” said Allen.
For information on Compton & Duling, which, in addition to family law, has commercial, real estate and land use practices, visit ComptonDuling.com.