Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means no blame is attached to either party when pursuing a divorce. Although a spouse’s domestic violence will not be grounds for the divorce, you may be able to introduce evidence to the Courts of your spouse’s abusive behavior. Evidence of domestic violence almost always impacts child custody, especially when the conduct is performed in the child’s presence, or even worse, the child is a victim. This evidence may also impact the division of the marital estate, alimony, and settlement negotiations.
If you have found yourself in a position where you, your children, or your pets are victims of domestic violence, here are some tips to follow to ensure everyone is protected:
When one’s safety is in clear, imminent danger, GET OUT IMMEDIATELY! Always call 911 when in doubt.
Prepare a safety plan along with a safety packing list for you and your children. The National Domestic Violence Hotline website provides invaluable information to assist with creating a safety plan and even identifying abuse. www.thehotline.org
Develop a code word you can use to alert children, family, and friends when you are in danger.
Memorize important phone numbers in case you do not have access to your cell phone.
Seek a temporary and/or permanent civil injunction for protection (restraining order). This will prohibit the abuser from engaging in any form of contact with you or minor children, violating this order will result in an abuser’s arrest.
Contact the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence at 1-800-500-1119.
Psychological and legal guidance is crucial in cases of emotional, financial, sexual and/or social abuse. Additionally, shelter and support should immediately be sought in case of physical violence or the threat of physical violence.
Just know that you do not have to go through this process alone, Brodzki Jacobs is here to provide expert legal guidance through these challenging times.