Divorce and Spousal Abuse: What You Need to Know
Divorce and Spousal Abuse:
There are two sides to every story. Nowhere is that truer than in domestic violence cases. There are two sides to every story. Attorney Carmelina Marin is experienced at representing those who seek legal protection for victims of domestic violence, as well as, defend persons accused of domestic violence.
Behind closed doors, or hidden beneath a blanket of silence, domestic violence bruises the lives of millions of people every year–
Florida is a no-fault state – that means when a person files divorce papers the only legal reason a person has to give is that the marriage is “irretrievable broken.” However, abuse may come into play when determining equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities, the award of alimony, and determination of parental responsibility, custody and time sharing.
There is no distinction when a person is a victim of domestic violence; man or woman; rich or poor; highly educated or a high school diploma; atheist or evangelical, or cultural background.
Here are some things to keep in mind
to help you and your kids make a safe transition.
Keep Good Records
As long as you are still living with your spouse or partner, keep careful records of every incident of physical or emotional abuse that involves you or your kids. Write down the date, time, and place of every event, along with a description of what happened and any injuries to you or your children. Photography is a crucial tool in the collection and documentation of evidence and can be used to successfully prosecute or defend in domestic violence cases.
Keep the following documents with you
If you have been thinking of leaving the home to escape violence for a while, start collecting these things:
citizenship papers, immigration papers,
child custody papers (if there are any), court orders,
health insurance card,
social security cards for yourself and children,
money and credit cards
personal and business bank records/statements, copies of previous year’s tax returns,
medicine, house keys,
driver’s license and car keys,
children's favorite toys,
clothing for a few days and valuable jewelry.
If it's an emergency and you have to leave the house quickly, do NOT stop to collect your things. If your spouse is violent, you must take all steps necessary to protect your safety and the safety of your children.
If you decide to leave the house and not come back, you may take the children with you, unless a court order that prevents you from doing so.However, we suggest you come speak to attorney Carmelina Marin first, so that she can help you navigate the legal process.
Get Legal Custody of Your Children
If you are a man or a woman who has been the victim of domestic violence or abuse by a spouse or partner, it’s important that you report the abuse immediately. If you believe you are in danger of domestic violence or continued domestic violence, you can seek a protective injunction to restrict your partner’s behavior and/or movement to prevent the threatened abuse.
If you have to leave home quickly with your kids to get away from an abusive spouse, go to court right away for an emergency protective order that both gives you custody of the children and requires your spouse to stay away from you. If you don’t make custody part of the protective order, you may be accused of kidnapping.
Tips for Petition for Protection Against Domestic Violence
The facts you present that are the most compelling to the court are the acts that occurred most recently or over a period of time.
Be as specific as possible!
Under Florida’s divorce laws, men and women are treated as equals and if domestic violence can be established against either spouse the court is likely to award more alimony, child support and custody privileges to the abused spouse along with exclusive use and possession of the marital home and other relief.
Keep in mind that the protection order will be temporary. Making a longer-term plan for custody of your children will be part of your divorce proceedings -- or separation process if you are not married to the other parent. Whether short or long term, a judge will make a decision about child custody based on what the judge believes to be in the best interests of the children. State law determines the factors that a court will consider, but the safety of the children and any history of domestic violence will be a significant part of the equation. To learn more about child custody laws and proceedings, make an appointment to talk to attorney Carmelina Marin.
Please be prepared that it is very likely that the judge will allow the batterer to get to see the children, as long as the parent hasn’t abused them. If it’s appropriate, you can ask for the visitation to be supervised or for the court to require that the other parent not drink or that certain other people can’t be around the kids.
Find Someone to Lean on
Emotional support can be absolutely essential to anyone part of a violent relationship. Friends, family, pastor and mental health providers can be very helpful. Many agencies will provide professional counseling at a fee based upon your income. Everyone at The Marin Law Firm, P.A. is committed to help if you have been accused of or charged with domestic violence, you could be facing life changing penalties, including losing contact with your children or family Because so much is at risk, it is critical to seek legal representation experienced in handling domestic violence cases.