If you are in an abusive marriage, then yes, domestic violence can affect your divorce. Here’s how.
Florida is a no-fault divorce state. That means that people wishing to divorce don’t have to provide any reason other than “irreconcilable differences” — in other words, that they simply don’t want to be married anymore. Since by law you don’t need a “justification” to get divorced, from a purely legal perspective, spousal abuse is irrelevant to the actual filing.
However, spousal abuse may be taken into account by the court in divorce proceedings when determining:
- Financial matters such as the equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities, as well as the awarding of alimony and/or child support; and
- Child custody (now called Parenting Plans and Timesharing).
If you are in an abusive relationship, please call a domestic violence hotline or shelter today. And if you are ready to initiate divorce proceedings, call George Gelb for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL consultation. (561) 748-8000
What Constitutes Domestic Violence?
Not sure if you’re in a “legally” abusive relationship?
According to Florida Statutes 741.28:
(2) “Domestic violence” means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.
(3) “Family or household member” means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.
Assault is an intentional, unlawful threat of violence.
Aggravated assault is assault (defined above), with a deadly weapon — or assault without a deadly weapon, but with the intent to kill or to commit a felony.
Battery is the intentional touching of another person against their will, or intentional touching that causes bodily harm.
And so on. See these Florida Statutes and more for definitions of what constitutes domestic violence.
Preparing for Court
Domestic violence can be tough to prove, and a nightmare to relive, in court. A few things to keep in mind if you plan on divorcing an abusive spouse, that will help you prepare for proving spousal abuse in court: Call 911 if you feel threatened, seek help from a therapist or domestic violence advocate, ask for the testimony of friends or family who have personally witnessed the abuse (not just heard about it), save threatening texts and emails, and keep diligent factual records of abuses that occurred, with dates and times.
Please be aware that ending an abusive marriage or relationship does not guarantee that the abuse will end. If you have children, you may still have contact with your abuser through timesharing. If the court issues a protective order (restraining order), have a plan in place in the event the order is violated.
You may need to take further action to protect yourself and your children from ongoing abuse. Don’t be afraid to call the police or contact a domestic violence hotline or shelter for assistance. Seek help, for your own safety and the safety of your children. And remember, you are not alone.
Contact George Gelb for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL consultation today. (561) 748-8000
Does Domestic Violence Have an Effect on Divorce? | Jupiter Divorce
(featured image courtesy of Beth Punches, Flickr.com)