DOMESTIC VIOLENCE & DIVORCE
Assault, Battery, Sexual Violence
Divorce proceedings are some of the most complicated and emotional times for most everyone – even if it’s an agreed-upon (uncontested) divorce with no children and an agreed division of property – the ending of a marriage is never easy. However, in most divorces, things will not be agreed upon; there will be controversies over any of a number of issues which can cause things to become volatile between the parties.
Unfortunately, emotional conflicts between divorcing spouses can become so intense that things escalate physically and one spouse becomes the victim of domestic violence. In Florida “domestic violence” is a crime — whether it involves assault or battery, and whether or not it includes acts of sexual violence. Domestic violence can happen one time and/or it can be repeated over time. Ex-spouses can be victims of domestic violence just as spouses can be victimized before and during the divorce process.
In Florida, domestic violence is recognized as a real and significant problem and Florida law allows a victim of domestic violence to go to court and get a court order that protects them from further violence – or even the threat of imminent harm. These are orders granted by a judge that prohibits the violent person from coming anywhere near the victim (usually with a set number of feet, or never at the workplace, etc.) and if the order is violated, then the person can be arrested for failure to abide by the terms of the court order.
This is such a serious issue that Florida law allows victims of domestic violence to petition the court for a domestic violence injunction (restraining order) without the need of a lawyer. Information on how to do this without legal help can be found at the local Battered Women’s Shelter, the local sheriff’s office or the Circuit Court Clerk.
Addressing Domestic Violence Accusations During Divorce
Often, domestic violence is an issue raised during divorce proceedings. In those verifiable instances, the victimized spouse will have his or her lawyer request from the court a restraining order against the offender spouse. For the spouse who has been accused of domestic violence (assault, battery, etc.) there may be ramifications not only in the divorce proceeding but in criminal court should the allegations result in a criminal arrest.
Victims of Violence: How Florida Divorce Lawyers Can Help
For those who have been victimized by domestic violence, lawyers can do several things for the protection of their clients and the children involved in the divorce proceedings, such as:
- Find protection in a safe place (including a safe house) often with the help of local domestic violence agencies;
- File immediate requests for court orders to protect against future violent acts on behalf of the spouse and the children; and
- Amend custody requests (temporary orders) to reflect violent circumstances and danger of harm.
Related: Real Estate Partitions and Domestic Violence in Florida – learn what you can do when you own a home with the violent offending spouse or partner.
Defending Against Manipulative (False) Allegations of Domestic Violence
For those who have been accused of domestic violence, issues of child custody can be dramatically impacted. Children, understandably, will be protected from violence by the courts; however, there are times when spouses will unfairly make an unwarranted allegation of domestic violence simply to sway the custody determinations.
In controversies surrounding domestic violence allegations, expert testimony may be needed and witnesses may need to be found and deposed in order to refute successfully the unwarranted domestic violence claim. No domestic violence allegation should be taken lightly, and any suggestion by the divorcing spouse that this type of claim may be made as a part of the divorce, support, or custody strategy should be aggressively and immediately reported to legal counsel for appropriate action.
Florida Divorce Lawyers Can Be Key in Domestic Violence Cases
All too often, allegations of violence between divorcing spouses are without supporting evidence and become a matter of one spouse pointing the finger at the other spouse. Victims of domestic violence are often traumatized and intimidated; victims of false allegations of domestic violence are vulnerable in different ways.
Having an experienced Florida family law attorney to help establish and prove with admissible evidence what has happened in a domestic violence situation can be critical especially where allegations include serious bodily harm or sexual assault.
741.30 Domestic violence; injunction; powers and duties of court and clerk; petition; notice and hearing; temporary injunction; issuance of injunction; statewide verification system; enforcement; public records exemption.—
(1) There is created a cause of action for an injunction for protection against domestic violence.
(a) Any person described in paragraph (e), who is either the victim of domestic violence as defined in s. 741.28 or has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of any act of domestic violence, has standing in the circuit court to file a sworn petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence.
(b) This cause of action for an injunction may be sought whether or not any other cause of action is currently pending between the parties. However, the pendency of any such cause of action shall be alleged in the petition.
(c) In the event a subsequent cause of action is filed under chapter 61, any orders entered therein shall take precedence over any inconsistent provisions of an injunction issued under this section which addresses matters governed by chapter 61.
(d) A person’s right to petition for an injunction shall not be affected by such person having left a residence or household to avoid domestic violence.
(e) This cause of action for an injunction may be sought by family or household members. No person shall be precluded from seeking injunctive relief pursuant to this chapter solely on the basis that such person is not a spouse.
(f) This cause of action for an injunction shall not require that either party be represented by an attorney.
(g) Any person, including an officer of the court, who offers evidence or recommendations relating to the cause of action must either present the evidence or recommendations in writing to the court with copies to each party and their attorney, or must present the evidence under oath at a hearing at which all parties are present.
(h) Nothing in this section shall affect the title to any real estate.
(i) The court is prohibited from issuing mutual orders of protection. This does not preclude the court from issuing separate injunctions for protection against domestic violence where each party has complied with the provisions of this section. Compliance with the provisions of this section cannot be waived.
(j) Notwithstanding any provision of chapter 47, a petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence may be filed in the circuit where the petitioner currently or temporarily resides, where the respondent resides, or where the domestic violence occurred. There is no minimum requirement of residency to petition for an injunction for protection.
We represent clients in domestic violence divorce matters in both Broward County and Miami-Dade County including the communities of Hallandale, Hollywood, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Weston, Davie, North Miami Beach, and Dania Beach.
Get a Free and Confidential Consultation with a Broward County Domestic Violence Divorce Lawyer
Contact us to find out how we can help you. You can contact us by phone at 954-458-8655 or by e-mail through this website to schedule an appointment and learn more about your rights in a Broward County divorce domestic violence situation. We offer a free initial telephone consultation.
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