How Does Domestic Violence Impact a Divorce?

Domestic abuse destroys families and is a terrible reality to endure. With the global pandemic keeping all of us home more often – and leaving us with fewer support systems in place – domestic violence is on the rise. In fact, domestic violence is often the impetus for divorce but can also make divorce more difficult to obtain (due to the victim’s natural fear). Help, however, is available, and an experienced Tampa family law attorney has the resources, compassion, and experience to skillfully assist you in your efforts to move beyond domestic violence.

Florida Is a No-Fault Divorce State

Florida has no-fault divorce laws, which means that you do not need to demonstrate your spouse’s fault or wrongdoing in order to obtain a divorce. The grounds for divorce in Florida focus on your marriage being irretrievably broken, which is another way of saying that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences.

The Effects of Domestic Violence

While divorce in Florida isn’t predicated on fault, this does not mean that the fact of domestic violence will not play a role in terms of your divorce. The court has vast discretion in these matters, and domestic violence can affect all the following major components of divorce:

  • Time-sharing and Parental Responsibility Arrangements – Domestic violence harms the entire family, including the children (even if they aren’t directly involved), and the courts take this into careful consideration when handing down terms related to child custody, which is called time-sharing and parental responsibility in Florida. If the abuser is deemed a danger or threat to the children, he or she may be required to have supervised visitation or may be denied custody altogether (based on what the court determines to be in the best interests of the children).
  • Division of Marital Property – That property that you and your spouse acquired together over the course of your marriage is marital property that will be divided equitably upon your divorce. Equitable means fair given the circumstances – rather than necessarily equal. One of the circumstances of your marriage is domestic violence, and the court is likely to take this into careful consideration in the division of your marital property.
  • Spousal Support – Spousal support is also commonly called alimony, and it refers to payments made by the divorcing spouse who has greater financial means to the divorcing spouse who will experience a financial deficit upon divorce. Alimony is never a given, but if warranted, the court will take the matter into careful consideration. The court will look at many factors when making an alimony determination, and the fact of domestic violence can play a significant role.

An Experienced Tampa Family Law Attorney Is on Your Side

Domestic violence is too damaging to ignore. If you’re the victim of domestic violence, Mark G. Rodriguez at the Law Office of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A., is a resourceful Tampa family law attorney with the compassion and conviction to help you protect yourself, your children, and your legal rights. Seek the help you need today by contacting us online or calling us at 813-227-9642 for more information.