Domestic violence is a serious issue impacting thousands of relationships in Florida and around the country. If domestic violence is the reason one party is seeking a divorce, it understandable if there are questions about how domestic violence changes divorce proceedings in Florida. While domestic abuse was once grounds for divorce, Florida is a no-fault divorce state. A party only needs to file for divorce and cite irreconcilable differences as the cause of the marriage’s dissolution.
How Domestic Violence Affects Child Custody
For spouses trapped in abusive marriages, child custody issues may be a driving force behind a quick divorce judgment with fault, but even if that is not available in Florida, there are other ways to enter your domestic violence history into the record on your case. Florida family court will focus on the best interest of your child in all cases, domestic violence or not. While the court prefers shared custodial arrangements, it will not make such determinations if there is a history of domestic abuse on file.
When reviewing child custody cases, the judge will consider any evidence regarding abuse, such as:
- Any convictions of domestic assault
- Any history and/or evidence of violence
- Evidence of child endangerment
- Lack of concern for child’s wellbeing and health
If the abused parent presents evidence and can prove domestic violence, a judge could award sole custody of any related minor children. The evidence of domestic assault will also impact visitation orders. The judge in the case will determine if the abusive parent is a threat to the child and the abused parent and decide if supervision is required for visitation. So, as you can see, a documented history of domestic violence will seriously impact custody orders in Florida child custody cases.
How Domestic Violence Affects Alimony
Spousal support is determined based on each spouse’s income. If the court determines a financial inequity exists that will cause undue financial distress for the lower-income spouse, the judge may decide to award alimony. Because alimony is determined by financial need rather than merit, their judge is unlikely to consider it as a factor for awarding alimony in a divorce case. If the domestic violence suffered in marriage led to a loss of employment or poor mental and physical health, those types of issues could contribute to a need for spousal support, so it is possible for domestic violence to indirectly impact alimony orders.
How Domestic Violence Affects Asset Division
Florida is an equitable distribution state, so all marital property will be divided accordingly. Issues of domestic violence would not impact how the judge reviews property issues. As with alimony awards, the judge will not consider evidence of a domestic violence case during the property division phase. If aspects of the abused spouse’s life were affected by the abuse suffered, it could indirectly become relevant in the case.
Domestic Violence Can Impact All Areas of a Divorce
There are phases of a divorce dictated by Florida law to follow a specific standard, but domestic violence can influence many factors in a case. If you are suffering in an abusive marriage, it’s important to document instances of abuse so when you’re ready to file for divorce, you have all the evidence needed to protect yourself and any minor children. Beatriz Zyne PA can help you in your divorce case and ensure you are ready with the evidence you need in your case. Call today at (305) 876-6138 to schedule a consultation.