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How Domestic Violence Could Affect Your Divorce
There are many reasons people decide to get divorced. Domestic violence is at the top of the list. If you’ve been physically, sexually, or emotionally abused by your spouse, a divorce can help you escape and live without fear. Even though Florida is a no-fault divorce state, the fact that you’ve been abused can be beneficial as you navigate the process.
You Don’t Need to Prove Abuse to Get a Divorce
You don’t have to prove to a Florida court that your spouse has been abusive to get a divorce. Florida is a no-fault divorce state. Neither spouse has to take responsibility for the end of the marriage. Instead, all you have to do is tell the court that your marriage is irretrievably broken. In other states, this is known as irreconcilable differences. It simply means that you and your spouse can’t get along anymore and that you no longer want to be married.
Domestic Violence and Its Impact On The Financial Aspects of Your Divorce
While you don’t have to prove that you’ve been abused to get divorced, it could help you get more than your spouse in the split. Florida is an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution means a fair division of assets. State law explains that equitable distribution usually means equal division.
However, you and your spouse don’t have to walk away from the divorce with an equal share of the marital assets (and debts). You can get more in the divorce than your spouse if the court believes that it would be fair to award you more. Many factors could influence a court to divide property unevenly. If you can establish that you’ve been the victim of domestic violence, a court may decide that you deserve more than your abusive spouse.
Alimony, or spousal support, isn’t as common as you might think. However, courts will be more inclined to order your spouse to support you after a divorce if you’ve been abused.
A Court’s Primary Concern Is Your Kids
Domestic violence affects children. There’s the risk that the children themselves will be abused in some way. Just being around an abusive parent can shape the way they view the world and cause serious developmental and emotional problems. A court will take allegations of abuse very seriously when you get divorced. While joint physical and legal child custody is preferred, judges have the authority to limit a parent’s access to a child if doing so is in that child’s best interest.
Speaking up about abuse in your relationship will not only benefit you, but it will also help your children. It can ensure that they’re safe and not in an environment that could endanger their physical or mental wellbeing.
You Can Press Charges, Ask For Compensation, or Request a Restraining Order
Domestic violence is illegal in the state of Florida. You have several legal options available to you as you navigate your divorce. You can file a complaint with your local police department and ask the state to press criminal charges. Evidence obtained by the state during an investigation into your allegations can help to support your requests for property, custody, and financial support in your divorce.
As the victim of abuse, you also have the right to hold your spouse personally and financially accountable for your injuries. In Florida, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain monetary damages for your suffering. The money you get can cover medical bills and lost wages, while also compensating for your emotional suffering.
Are you afraid of your spouse and fear that they’ll continue to hurt you after you get a divorce? Consider asking for a restraining order. Your Florida family law attorney can help you petition the court and prove that it’s in your best interest (and your kids’ best interests) to keep your spouse away from you.
Many victims of abuse are afraid to speak up and ask for help. While it can be hard to acknowledge that someone you love has hurt you in such a profound way, it can be critical for you and your safety. Domestic violence can also benefit you as you get divorced. You can protect your children, secure financial support, and walk away with what you want from the split.