Because divorce cases involving domestic violence are anything but straightforward, if you are facing this situation, it is critical to have forceful, informed legal representation. In Central Florida, Orlando Family Team is well up to the challenge. Contact us now to discuss how you can sever your marital ties while keeping your family safe.
Our domestic violence divorce attorneys have a great deal of experience and a history of success protecting spouses and children who have lived under violent and abusive behavior. We are also adept at handling situations in which one spouse is being falsely accused of violence as a form of revenge or for leverage during divorce proceedings.
You will find our domestic violence divorce lawyers to be compassionate as well as highly capable. Our investigative, negotiation, and litigation skills, our attention to detail, and our comprehensive knowledge of Florida law assures you of superior legal advocacy. We also have access to resources designed to protect you and your children from domestic violence while we work on finalizing your divorce.
Which comes first — domestic violence or divorce?
It is important to understand that while domestic violence all too frequently is the reason an abused spouse seeks a divorce, the converse is also true. The threat of divorce can precipitate rage as well as anxiety, jealousy, and grief, prompting a violent response, even in the spouse who has never been violent before. This is one of the reasons it’s essential to consult with one of our domestic violence divorce attorneys when you first consider divorce to make certain you and your children remain secure.
Types of Domestic Violence
Unfortunately, domestic violence takes many shapes, all of them frightening. Types of domestic violence include:
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- False imprisonment
Add to this list any criminal offense that results in physical injury or death of one family member by another. Though we are focused on divorce here, domestic violence can, and often does, take place between household members who are not married. It should be noted that although an amicable divorce can frequently be resolved through divorce mediation, a courtroom trial will almost always be necessary in cases involving domestic violence.
Emotional Abuse as Domestic Violence
You don’t have to be physically assaulted to be a victim of domestic violence. For example, a child who witnesses one parent being attacked by the other is certainly a victim, as is a spouse who is constantly being followed, verbally threatened, denied access to necessities, or isolated from loved ones.
Restraining Orders in Florida
One of the first steps we can help you to take for your protection is getting a restraining order (also known as a protective order or injunction) against your abusive spouse. There are several types of such orders; we will assist you in filing the one best suited to your circumstances. In urgent situations, we can help you receive a temporary restraining order (TRO) quickly and later request a long-term restraining order through a court hearing.
The judge has discretion in how the restraining order will be implemented. For instance, the judge may:
- Impose restrictions on physical contact
- Require that the offender maintain a certain distance from the victim
- Mandate that the offender does not go to the victim’s workplace or school
- Evict the perpetrator from the home if the two parties have been living in the same household.
- Prevent the offender from possessing or purchasing firearms
- Protect minor children who may be in danger
There will be serious consequences if the offending spouse violates the restraining order. These include:
- Increased spousal or child support if the offender is the paying spouse
- Reduced or eliminated spousal support if the offender is the receiving spouse
- Reduced parenting time
- Jail time
How Domestic Violence Affects Specific Aspects of Divorce Agreements in Florida
Although domestic violence most often takes place in private, once charges of domestic violence arise, the court will take them into account if they can be verified by:
- Witness accounts
- Photographs of bruises, burns, or other wounds
- Doctor or hospital records of victim’s injuries
- Police records that show officers were called to the home
- Court-ordered restraining orders
- Arrest and conviction records of the offender
Judges have leeway in determining how much or how little the divorce agreement will be affected by evidence of domestic violence. Domestic violence may impact several aspects of divorce, such as:
Even if domestic violence has not been committed against or in the view of a child, it may affect custody arrangements. While Florida courts work under the assumption that the child should spend as much time as possible with each parent, judges who feel joint custody would be harmful may award the victimized parent sole custody. The judge may also become convinced that the offending parent should only be permitted supervised visits with the child. That is why having a savvy, persuasive attorney is crucial.
Alimony (Spousal Support)
Some judges may feel that domestic violence issues have affected the abused spouse’s emotional and physical health, education, and employability. In such cases, the judge may require that the abused spouse, depending on circumstances, is entitled to more spousal support or should not have to pay it.
Division of Property
Florida law requires that marital property be divided equitably between spouses, but domestic violence may indirectly affect the property division. If the victim has suffered physical or psychological harm, diminished earning capacity, or financial losses, the court may award the victimized spouse a larger share of the marital estate.
When an Emergency Divorce or Custody Arrangement Is Necessary
If you and your children are in immediate danger, or if your spouse is trying to remove your child from the state of Florida during divorce negotiations, Orlando Family Team will ensure that proceedings are expedited to protect you and your family.
Contact Our Experienced Orlando Domestic Violence Divorce Attorneys Today
Our lawyers are committed to protecting you and your family from any further domestic violence. Contact us now so we can begin fighting for your right to live in a safe environment and regain your peace of mind.