In the best-case scenarios, a divorce can be completely straightforward. Property ownership can be clear and easy to divide. Spousal support rulings make sense and don’t overburden either party. Many things can go right.
Unfortunately, this easy divorce is not the norm. Much can go wrong. Legal misunderstandings can slow the process down. Perhaps property ownership is complex and takes a lot of time to untangle. Any little hurdle can change the outcome of a divorce.
Behavior within the marriage can alter the divorce as well. Evidence of mistreatment may cause a judge to rule heavily in favor of the victim.
Here are some ways that domestic violence claims can alter the outcome of your divorce.
- Domestic Abuse and Spousal Support
In civil court, one person sues the other for financial compensation. Essentially, the plaintiff claims that the defendant’s actions led to injuries. If the plaintiff proves their case, the court declares that the defendant must pay for those damages.
Spousal support should be based on each spouse’s income, earning potential, age, and so on. The court can also consider the length of the marriage.
However, if the court believes that the paying spouse abused the receiving spouse, it can order a larger alimony payment. In this way, a family court acts like a civil court. It believes that the victimized spouse deserves financial compensation for their pain, and it uses spousal support to do so.
- Domestic Abuse and Child Custody
Courts make custody rulings based on the best interest of the child. If one spouse can prove that the other abused the children, or that the children witnessed abuse, this can have a major impact on child custody.
A court is not likely to give custody to anyone it believes harmed the children. It may grant limited visitation, and that time could be supervised.
Even if the child did not directly experience or witness abuse, courts have room to judge a person’s overall fitness as a parent. It may limit custody and visitation to an alleged abuser simply because it does not trust them.
If the state believes that a parent is a direct danger to the children, it can remove their parental rights altogether. Some parents may be given an action plan to help them correct their behavior. If they can prove that they followed the plan and have improved, they may be able to retain their parental rights. Such a plan is, however, not guaranteed.
- Domestic Abuse and Property Division
As we discussed above, family courts can compensate the victims of abuse financially, using spousal support payments. It can also do this through property division.
When a court believes that one spouse is the victim of abuse, it can grant them a greater amount of the marital property.
- Domestic Abuse and Protective Orders
Protective orders, sometimes called “restraining orders” or “orders of protection,” can become a part of a divorce trial. Along with rulings on property, support, and children, the court can issue restraining orders.
When this happens, it normally issues a “final injunction.” In Florida, these orders have no specific end date. The court will simply decide how long it lasts. If the order is indefinite, spouses must plead for a modification, or it will remain in place. The court can also extend orders that have an expiration date as needed.
Our firm is here to help with domestic violence issues in your divorce. Whether you have been the victim or need to dispute false claims, reach out to us today for help. You can contact us online or call us at (407) 753-4111.