Does Abuse Matter in Divorce Proceedings?
Going through a divorce can be a challenge emotionally all on its own, but add to the fact that you are leaving an abusive relationship and an entire new set of emotions comes into play as well. People tend to have their reasons for staying in an abusive marriage such fear, money, children, family, and many other reasons. This can lead to quite the emotional rollercoaster once a person is working toward freeing themselves of that abusive relationship.
The first step in understanding if abuse will play a part in the legal proceedings of your divorce is to understand that there are two different types of divorce, No Fault and Fault. Some states will require a specific type of divorce proceeding where others will give you a choice. The only way that abuse will be taken into consideration is when there are fault legal divorce proceedings in process.
Florida has eliminated the fact that a person needs to provide proof that a spouse was at fault for their divorce, and is considered a No Fault state when it comes to legal divorce proceedings. All this means is that in order to actually file for divorce a person just needs to be a Florida resident and can file under irreconcilable differences. Abuse only comes into play when it comes down to the division of assets, financial restitution, and custody.
Many people believe that they are not able to show their history of abuse in their divorce proceedings, but they will get their chance when it comes down to how everything will be divided among the divorcing parties. The courts do not want to award the custody of young children to a person with a history of abuse, so it could play a large part in the custody decision alone.
There is a lot of fear that goes into filing for divorce from an abusive partner. The courts understand that there could be a large threat from the abuser once a person files for divorce, so that have the Protection From Abuse that can be filed. This will be a legal document where the abuser is required to stay away from the spouse and the family.
The PFA is a great way to add legal protection for you and your family from your abusive spouse. You can file for a PFA through the clerk of the Circuit Court, or most abuse shelters also have the ability to file for the PFA as well. While it never hurts to have a lawyer in legal matters you do not have to have one present in order to file. Keep in mind that the PFA is simply a legal document, so should your abusive spouse violate it report it right away or call 911.
Where to Get Help with Divorce
If you’re considering divorce, get good legal advice on Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders, property settlements, alimony, child custody and time-sharing, and child support. For information specific to your individual situation, consult with a qualified divorce attorney.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Theodore Rechel
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.