DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INJUNCTIONS
Florida Domestic Violence Injunctions
Most people think that domestic violence is limited to physical assault, but under the law it can encompass a number of negative behaviours. It also doesn’t have to be between spouses; family members, friends, adult children and more can be perpetrators of domestic violence.
WHAT IS THE LEGAL DEFINITION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN FLORIDA?
Domestic violence has a broad legal definition in the state of Florida. Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling behavior by one person who has or has had a personal, intimate or family relationship with another person. Domestic Violence may include making threats to you, slapping, choking or pushing, holding you down, kicking, forcing or pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to, or any other types of unwanted behavior.
Perpetrators of domestic violence could face criminal charges by engaging in these behaviours.
WHEN IS IT TIME TO CALL A LAWYER AS A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM?
When domestic violence is initially reported, there are usually courthouse intake assistants on hand to help you with your case. However, a lawyer specializing in Florida family law will be much more knowledgeable than a courthouse assistant and will give you more of a chance of getting a successful injunction against the accused. An injunction is more commonly known as a restraining order.
An injunction can have a number of items, the first of which will be ordering the abuser from ceasing the abusive behaviour and either limiting or severing contact with you, depending on the case. It may also order temporary child support and/or give you temporary custody of your children. The abuser can be arrested if they violate the injunction.
HOW CAN A LAWYER HELP ME IF I HAVE BEEN ACCUSED OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Domestic violence cases are treated very seriously in Florida courts. Even if you think the victim doesn’t have any evidence against you, you could very well be facing criminal charges. If you have received a domestic violence injunction, either a family law or criminal lawyer will be able to help you. If the injunction includes criminal charges, you should consult a criminal lawyer.
WILL A CHARGE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HELP MY DIVORCE CASE?
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you should report for your own safety and the safety of others.
Some people think that charging the spouse with domestic violence - even where it doesn’t exist - can help their side in a divorce case. This is not true, and takes away necessary public resources from actual domestic violence cases. Domestic violence and divorce are usually treated as two separate issues by the court, so a domestic violence injunction will generally not increase or decrease the amount that the court settles on for child support or other items.
Where it will make a difference is in child custody cases; if you end up with a criminal charge for domestic violence, you may have to have supervised visits with children and custody may be limited.
RESOURCES FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE
Help Now - Osceola, Florida. Shelter for victims of domestic violence.
Harbor House - Orlando, Florida. Shelter for victims of domestic violence.
Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Advocacy group for domestic violence victims.