Divorce courts are required to consider whether an abuser’s past (and potential future) actions could be harmful to a spouse or children. If your spouse has accused you of domestic violence, you need a Florida criminal defense attorney to refute the charges so that you can be treated fairly in divorce proceedings.
Effects of a Domestic Violence Conviction on Divorce in Florida
The law allows a presumption of domestic violence in court proceedings to protect at-risk partners and their children. In other words, an accusation alone can have weight during a divorce case and result in your spouse receiving a larger share of the marital property.
Custody arrangements, divorce rulings, and each spouse’s share of the property can be affected by:
- Restraining orders or injunctions. A conviction isn’t necessary for a judge to consider allegations of domestic violence during a divorce. Since domestic violence poses an immediate threat of bodily harm from an abuser, alleged victims can file for a domestic violence injunction or restraining order, also called a protection order. A judge can issue an immediate 15-day injunction that forces you out of the family home and bars you from any contact with your spouse or children. If you violate the terms of a temporary injunction or No Contact order before the hearing—even unintentionally—you could be arrested and face criminal charges.
- Domestic violence arrests. If your partner filed a complaint with the police, the family law judge should consider the specifics of the accusation. For example, a recent or pending accusation will have more weight than one incident that happened over a decade ago. However, it’s ultimately up to the judge whether evidence of domestic violence against a child or partner will affect the terms of a divorce case.
- Domestic violence convictions. If a parent has been convicted of kidnapping, false imprisonment, or another felony domestic violence offense, joint custody will likely not be granted. Even if the judge allows visitation, contact with your child may be supervised or restricted to specific times and locations. It’s up to you to prove that shared custody would be in your child's best interest.
Your First Call Should Be to Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
A history of domestic violence can significantly impact your ability to raise your children. It can also limit employment opportunities and place a stigma on you for the rest of your life. If a domestic violence charge is threatening your future, call us today to get the best possible outcome in your case.