In many cases, when one partner is physically abusive towards the other, this brutal conduct will be the reason the marriage ends in divorce. When the couple begins a divorce, this history of violence can have critical implications for both sides. Here are some considerations about divorce issues when your spouse is violent.
Violence between spouses is often part of a cycle of abuse wherein a spouse will hurt the other, reconcile with them, and then assault them again. This pattern can be replicated over and over and is often difficult to escape. When an abused partner leaves the relationship, he or she may be vulnerable to the other spouse's reaction and at risk for increased violence. Therefore, it is critical that the individual has a safe place to stay and a safety plan in place which details what to do should they feel threatened.
Domestic Violence Injunction
It may be necessary to ask the court for a domestic violence injunction which will legally require the abusive spouse to stay away from and not contact their former partner. During divorce, it can also be a means to temporarily award you exclusive use of the marital home. Filing this document during a divorce case will also put the court on notice that there are domestic violence issues present.
Child Custody and Visitation
Violence in a marriage with children is extremely concerning as it is likely the children have or will be exposed to their parent's abusive behavior. When making decisions about how the parents will share parental responsibility and time-sharing the court will scrutinize the reports of violence and look at the children's best interest. When evaluating best interest, the court can look at domestic violence between the parties, past criminal convictions for domestic violence, and evidence that a child's health or safety have or could be endangered. If there is a serious history of violence, the abusive parent could be denied time-sharing and parental responsibility or be extremely limited in their contact with their child.
Equitable Distribution and Spousal Support
During a divorce, a Florida court is charged with equitably dividing a couple's assets and liabilities. When there has been violence in the marriage, the court could examine this fact and any economic damage it may have caused, and award a disproportionate share of the couple's marital property to the injured spouse. Likewise, the court can also look at the abusive behavior when deciding whether or not to award spousal maintenance.
If you are involved in a relationship where domestic violence is an issue and are considering divorce, you need the advice of an experienced attorney to understand your options. At the Draper Firm, we have knowledgeable divorce and domestic violence injunction attorneys who can help. Contact us online or at (866) 767-4711 today to set up your free, no-obligation consultation in one of our three locations: St. Cloud, Kissimmee, and Orlando.