In the United States each year, more than 10 million women and men are abused by an intimate partner. According to the latest statistics, an estimated 108,030 domestic violence incidents were reported to police in Florida in 2013 while many more incidents went unreported. Filing for divorce can be a difficult, emotional, and stressful process even in the best of circumstances. Divorcing an abusive partner often brings additional worry, anxiety, and fear. If you are married to an abusive partner and are filing for divorce, it is important to understand the law as it pertains to divorce in this situation.
Domestic violence and the law
Criminal law and family statutes are in place in most states for the prevention and prosecution of domestic violence incidents. Florida offers legal options through the civil and criminal court systems. In Florida, crimes that are considered domestic violence may include:
The specific charge for a criminal offense of domestic violence depends on the individual circumstances of the incident. Florida domestic violence laws specifically include a minimum punishment of five days served in county jail. The court can also sentence a convicted offender to a period of imprisonment in Florida state prison.
Abuse and divorce in Florida
Florida is a “no fault state” when filing for divorce, meaning that fault is not necessary as a ground for dissolution of the marriage. So, legally speaking, abuse in a marriage carries no weight on the filing for divorce. When filing for divorce in Florida, you may simply indicate that the reason for filing is due to irreconcilable differences. Abuse is, however, important in issues pertaining to child custody and financial matters. When making the determination concerning equitable distribution of property, alimony, and child custody, the court may consider any history of abuse in the marriage.
Don’t delay in taking action
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, take action immediately to protect yourself against further harm. Your safety and wellbeing are your priority. Once you are safe, if you have chosen to file for divorce, it is critical to have a divorce attorney experienced in domestic abuse to lead this process and protect you and your interests. At the Law Offices of Mark G. Rodriguez, our Tampa divorce attorney understands the pain divorce can bring, and the unique circumstances facing those divorcing an abusive partner. With more than 25 years experience in Florida family law, attorney Rodriguez skillfully navigates the system, representing clients with compassion and dedication. Contact our office today for a free consultation by calling (813) 227-9642 or contact us online.