Domestic Violence May Impact Your Divorce, and Here is How
No court takes domestic violence allegations or convictions lightly, but when it comes to family court, the judge is even more stringent. When there are charges or convictions of domestic violence in a marriage, ending that marriage becomes exponentially more complex than a typical divorce. Though Florida is a no fault divorce state, and though a judge is required to remain impartial, there will undoubtedly be a bias when it comes time to dividing property and settling other divorce matters—especially if there are children involved. Florida law dictates that a Florida family court judge is required to set a custody schedule that is in the best interests of the children. Living with a violent person is not in a child’s best interest. Of course, other factors will come into play that may affect how a judge goes about settling the divorce case.
If you or your child is the victim of domestic violence and if you just want to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family, it is important that you prepare for your case and understand exactly what to expect. Divorce is full of surprises, but when one is as emotionally charged as yours is apt to be, you want to be sure to limit as many surprises as possible. An experienced and compassionate Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer can help you do that.
Get the Protection You Need First and Foremost
While typical divorcing couples are worried about property division and finances at the beginning of the divorce process, you may be more concerned about how you are going to stay safe until your divorce is finalized. For you, the first order of may be to get a protection order against your abuser. Your family law attorney can advise you on which type of order is best for your circumstances (Florida has four categories of injunctions: one for domestic violence, one for repeat violence, one for dating violence, and one for sexual violence), and, until the injunction is approved, help you file a temporary order for immediate protection.
Unfortunately, an injunction is really just a piece of paper, and while it can serve to have your abuser arrested if he or she comes near you or your children, it cannot protect you before the police get there. You have to do that on your own by finding a safe place to live until the divorce is final, which may entail finding your local domestic abuse organization for help finding refuge.
Prepare for Contention
A Florida divorce can get even the calmest and most emotionally stable individual worked up, so when dealing with an innately violent person, it is always best to prepare for the worst. While your divorce attorney will do most of the talking on your behalf so that you do not have to interact with your abuser, topics may arise that touch a nerve and that make the other party angry. Some such topics may include property division and child custody. Whereas most typical divorcing parties would discuss these issues face to face, it may not be best for you to do so. Instead, you may want to consider expressing your issues to your attorney, who can then relay them to the other party’s attorney. Of course, negotiations can be necessary, but those can be done via back-and-forth between your attorney and your spouse’s.
A Skilled Attorney is Ready to Work for You
If you and/or your children are the victims of domestic violence, you may discover that the divorce process is one more complication to your marriage. Fortunately, it is the last complication. However, getting to the end will require strength that you did not know you possessed, endurance, and willpower. It will also require a skilled Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer who understands your unique needs and who is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that you come out the other end of your divorce happy, free from your abuser and, above all, safe. To take your first step to a new life, contact the attorneys at the office of Edward J. Jennings, P.A. to discuss your unique case today.