Domestic Violence

Injunctions, Criminal Prosecutions and Divorce in Florida 

Domestic violence has implications in a divorce case, both civil and criminal. 

Civilly, domestic violence can be addressed in a petition for an injunction against domestic violence, a very powerful tool that has serious ramifications – now and for the rest of your life (it is a crime to possess a firearm and many jobs will not hire you) – if you are on the receiving end of a domestic violence injunction.  Domestic violence will have a significant impact on parenting and time sharing issues.  Domestic violence can impact an alimony claim.  Domestic violence can have a significant impact on how the divorce judge views and perceives the husband and wife when ruling on the issues in the case.

Domestic violence can be criminally prosecuted.  A criminal prosecution can result in a costly criminal defense, trial and/or conviction.  A conviction can result in jail time and a criminal record that will follow you the rest of your life.

Domestic violence, in short, is serious business that can have a major impact on your divorce case.  Domestic violence – if the allegations are true – cannot be countenanced and should not be by anyone or any court.  However and sadly, it is not at all unusual for a woman to make a false claim of domestic violence in order to gain a tactical advantage in a divorce or custody case.  Many such false claims are brought to court every day and if these false or exaggerated claims are not aggressively defended there is a risk of the temporary domestic violence injunction being upheld and converted to a permanent injunction, or worse.

The flip side of the coin is where the claim is legitimate and is being met with a vigorous defense.  The complainant, most oftentimes the woman, needs representation to make sure her claim is properly presented to the judge. 

Domestic violence most often comes to light in divorce cases where allegations surface that husband is physically abusing his wife, or other family or household member.

Domestic violence is a defined term in Chapter 741 of the Florida Statutes and 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.

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.

A family or household member, who is either the victim of domestic violence or has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of any act of domestic violence, may file a sworn petition for an injunction against domestic violence in the circuit court.

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