How Domestic Violence can Affect a Divorce Case
Many divorces may be contentious with numerous complex issues in question, however divorces may be especially complicated and acrimonious if there is a history of domestic abuse in the relationship. In some cases, incidences of domestic violence may be recent and may even be the cause of the divorce filing. Even if the violence was not recent, a history of such actions may play a substantial role in the divorce proceedings.
Domestic violence is against the law and many violent spouses may find themselves facing criminal charges. However, many offenders do not predict the impact that their violent or threatening actions may have on divorce determinations. Because Florida recognizes “no-fault” divorces, you do not have to cite or prove domestic violence to have your dissolution of marriage granted by the family courts. If you have been a victim of domestic violence, however, you may want to bring up the incidents of domestic violence as part of your case. An experienced attorney will know when and how to use evidence of domestic violence to help you and your children in divorce.
Domestic violence is often relevant in the following divorce determinations:
Property division–Florida law requires an equitable division of all marital assets and debts. However, this does not mean property division must be equal, as courts have the discretion to distribute property in a manner they deem fair and just. In making this determination, the law requires courts to consider a number of specific factors as well as “all other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.” Domestic violence may be considered in these determinations and may sway the court to order property division that is more favorable to the victim rather than the abuser.
Child custody–Domestic violence on the part of one parent may play a huge role in child custody and time-sharing determinations. The court may decide that it is not in a child’s best interest to spend substantial time with a parent who has a history of violence and may even award full custody to one parent or require supervised visits if the judge believes the child may be in danger with the potentially violent parent. In fact, if a parent has a criminal conviction for first degree domestic violence or a more serious related offense, Florida custody law requires a court to assume the child will be in danger unless the convicted parent can sufficiently show otherwise. For this reason, individuals with domestic violence convictions should always have an experienced attorney who can fight for a favorable time-sharing decision.
If you are currently the victim of domestic violence, you should contact the authorities and an experienced family lawyer as soon as possible, as a lawyer can help you obtain an order of protection to keep your abuser away from you and your children. A judge is available to approve temporary protective orders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and a lawyer knows how to go through the proper channels so that you are legally protected.
At the All Family Law Group, we are committed to helping Florida residents with a wide range of family law matters including domestic violence, marriage, divorce, child custody, adoption, and more. Please do not hesitate to contact our Tampa Bay office by calling 813-816-2232 for a complimentary consultation at no charge.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+