Domestic Violence and Injunctions for Protection Against Domestic Violence
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. The state of Florida has made a commitment to protect victims and survivors of domestic violence and ensure that they receive the right treatment and protection from abusive spouses or family/household members. If you or a loved one has been a victim of domestic violence, it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney.
Domestic Violence in Florida
In Florida, domestic violence means any type of assault, aggravated assault, sexual assault, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any abusive criminal violent act that leads to serious harm or death of a member of a household by another member of the household or family member. Florida defines family member or household member to mean any person that is a current or former spouse, any person who is related by blood or marriage, anyone who resides in the house together as a family unit (or in the past resided together as a family) in a shared domicile, persons who are co-parents for a child regardless of whether the couple were legally married.
Criminal and Civil Proceedings for Domestic Violence Cases
Allegations of domestic violence are treated as a criminal matter and are dealt with through the criminal process. Any person who has been identified as a victim of domestic violence or there is a reasonable belief that he or she may be in imminent danger of being a victim of domestic violence, the court may file for an injunction for protection against domestic violence. These injunctions may be temporary or permanent, and if there is a belief that a victim is in imminent danger of abuse (or further abuse and violence), the injunction may be expedited and stand until the circuit court may hear the merits of the case.
Injunctions for Protection Against Domestic Violence
Injunctions for protection against domestic violence include all details surrounding the domestic violence and/or any imminent threat of becoming a victim of domestic violence. It includes the personal identification information of both the victims and the abuser, as well as, any physical description of the abuser. A person may seek to obtain an injunction not only if he or she has been a victim of domestic violence, but certain details may show that there is a threat that he or she may become a victim of domestic violence. Such details include the injury or killing of a family pet, a criminal history of physical violence or the threat of physical violence, past injunctions for protection against domestic violence, any attempts to injure, kill, stalk, or intimidate the family or friends of the target of domestic violence, among other factors.
Purpose Behind Injunctions
The injunction serves the role of establishing a temporary respite from the abuser, restraining the abuser from any acts of domestic violence or threats of acts of domestic violence, temporarily redrafting the parenting plan and time-sharing schedule where a child is involved, temporarily establishing child support from the abuser until the matter can be resolved more permanently, awarding the exclusive use and possession of the family home to the victim and excluding the abuser from the home, among other actions that the court deems appropriate to take.
The After the Injunction has been Filed
Once an injunction has been filed, a hearing will be set up for the case at the earliest time possible. If the court finds that a person was a victim of a domestic violence or is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence, the court may take more permanent civil actions against the abuser, as well as, associated criminal penalties for any abuse that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. As for family matters, the victim may receive full custodial rights of the minor child and may receive payments from the abuser for maintenance. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the court may even terminate parental rights of an abuser.
Please contact West Palm Beach family law attorney William Wallshein for a confidential consultation if you are interested in learning more about injunctions for protection against domestic violence and the steps you can take to fight back in Florida.