If you are thinking about filing for divorce in Florida, it is even more important to ensure that you understand the full scope of your rights and that you get help from an experienced Florida divorce attorney as soon as possible. The complicated issues of any divorce are amplified when you are getting divorced from an abusive partner.
Behind closed doors, unfortunately, domestic violence touches the lives of far too many people. It is estimated that nearly 4 million individuals every single year are impacted by domestic violence. Although the vast majority of them are women, men and children are also frequently victims.
In marriages, domestic violence occurs in at least two-thirds of U.S. marriages and 95% of the victims in those situations are women. Filing for divorce from an abusive partner carries an additional element of concern, anxiety and fear. This is why it is imperative to understand your rights and to consult with a knowledgeable divorce attorney as soon as possible after making the decision to get divorced. The most important thing that any victim in an abuse situation can do is to take action and exercise courage.
Why Abuse Victims May Initially Avoid Divorce
Many people feel as though they just cannot cope with the legal system in addition to the recent abuse they have suffered. It can be very difficult to figure out how to move on with your life and how to protect yourself. This is extremely important in the situation of dealing with divorce. In the event that your spouse is violent, you need to take action as soon as possible. Contact the police if necessary and establish a safety treatment plan as soon as possible. Your safety plan should only be shared with a few other trusted individuals, such as a family member or a friend.
Your safety plan should include the address and contact details for where you will be in the event that you need to leave your home suddenly. If friends and family members are unable to find you, those who are in the know can be informed via the safety plan monitor’s ability to share that information.
Talk to a Lawyer First, Unless You Fear for Your Safety
In the event that you fear for your immediate safety or the safety of any children, you need to leave your house. Violence may still happen after you leave. If your spouse is a violent one, you need to take all necessary steps in order to protect yourself and the safety of your children. Only after you have gotten to a safe location is it appropriate to think about the legal issues.
You can leave the house and not come back and you could even take children with you unless there is a court order directing you otherwise. An attorney can help you understand the various issues involved in leaving the house and how domestic violence and any past charges may be considered in your case.
Domestic Violence and Child Custody
There is no doubt that one of the biggest concerns you will have about your divorce in Florida is how domestic violence can be incorporated in the consideration of child custody. It can be alarming to think about the fact that an abusive parent may choose this as an opportunity to extend the power and control of the abusive relationship into the courtroom itself.
Consulting with an experienced attorney can help you figure out the best way to protect yourself.
Having an aggressive trial strategy and one that highlights the dangers that you have experienced or expect to experience as a victim of abuse is important. Bear in mind that the abuser may up the ante as soon as you leave the home or intend to file for custody. A physical, verbal or sexual abuser may feel enraged by the fact that you have left them and may escalate their activities. If necessary, you may need to obtain a temporary court order. You can talk more to the police about this or to your family lawyer. There are many different complex moving parts involved in a family law case where abuse is a concern. Do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced Florida divorce lawyer sooner rather than later.