Family arguments are nothing new, but arguments that physically threaten or affect a person’s safety are violations of the law. Florida’s domestic violence laws protect people from physical assault or emotional abuse by a family or household member; this includes:

  • A spouse or former spouse;
  • A person who shares a household with the alleged offender or who once shared a home with them;
  • Someone who has a child with the alleged perpetrator;
  • Anyone who has a biological relationship with them;
  • Persons related by blood or marriage.

Domestic violence could lead to criminal charges, but there are civil court implications even after the criminal charges have been resolved. A person who experienced domestic violence could seek an injunction against the alleged perpetrator in family court and reported domestic violence could impact divorce and child custody proceedings.

If you experienced household abuse, consult with a local family attorney. A South Miami domestic violence lawyer can advise you about responding to this ordeal in a way that offers maximum protection to you and your family.

Civil Versus Criminal Domestic Violence Proceedings

Criminal domestic violence in Florida covers assault, battery, sexual violence, stalking, falsely imprisoning, or kidnapping someone with whom the person has or had a familial relationship. Threatening any of these acts could also be considered domestic violence.

Domestic violence carries criminal consequences: the offender could be arrested and face fines, probation, or jail time. The civil consequences of domestic violence are also significant.

Florida Statutes § 741.30 permits a victim of domestic violence to seek an injunction against the offender, preventing them from making contact with the victim. Some people refer to these injunctions as orders of protection. If a Judge grants an injunction, the offender may not contact the victim in person or via mail, phone, text, or social media platforms. A domestic violence protection lawyer in South Miami can quickly request an injunction against an abusive household member.

Seeking a Domestic Violence Injunction

Domestic violence injunctions could be either temporary or permanent. In many cases, a Judge issues a temporary injunction and could make it permanent later. A person seeking an injunction must file a petition with the court where they live, and it is wise to take this step as quickly as possible after a domestic violence incident.

The person seeking the injunction must demonstrate to the court that they were the victim of domestic violence or have a well-founded fear that a specific person might commit domestic violence against them. The initial request is usually ex parte, meaning the alleged offender is not notified and will not be present at the hearing. If the court grants the request for a temporary injunction, it will schedule a full hearing within two weeks.

In many cases, the temporary injunction provides a sufficient cooling-off period, and the victim might decide they do not want or need to make the injunction permanent. A South Miami attorney could help someone who is experiencing domestic violence assess whether obtaining a permanent injunction is advisable.

Impact of Domestic Violence on Child Custody Decisions

A person with a history of domestic violence could find themselves disadvantaged in child custody disputes. Courts increasingly recognize that witnessing domestic violence harms children and might assume that a person who cannot control their anger with an intimate partner also might pose a threat to a child.

However, a domestic violence conviction alone is rarely enough to persuade a judge to deny visitation with a child. A parent with valid, documentable concerns about leaving a child alone with their co-parent could ask the court to order supervised visitation.

Sometimes a history of domestic violence influences practical issues like how parents manage the children’s pick-up and drop-off for visitation. Many parenting plans call for parents to make the exchange at a police station or social services office to limit the opportunity for domestic violence to occur. A lawyer can push for a safer child custody situation if domestic abuse is a factor.

Work with a South Miami Domestic Violence Attorney Today

Domestic violence can wreak havoc in a family’s life. Not only is it a crime, but it affects many family law issues. A South Miami domestic violence lawyer has extensive experience representing people in family court when a history of violent conduct could affect the proceedings. Please contact us today to discuss your situation so we can help you have peace of mind moving forward.