How Does Domestic Violence Influence Alimony And Property Division Decisions In Florida?
Under Florida Statute 741.28, domestic violence is defined as “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.” Sadly, domestic violence remains a huge problem in Florida and America at large. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida records over 100,000 domestic violence cases every year. In 2018, for example, a total of 104,914 domestic violence cases were reported to Florida law enforcement.
Often, domestic violence cases lead to divorce. Indeed, since Florida is a no-fault divorce state, one need not use domestic violence as grounds for a divorce. Nevertheless, Florida laws are designed to protect domestic violence victims during a divorce. Domestic violence can have a direct or indirect impact on a divorce settlement. For example, even though domestic violence cannot be used as grounds for divorce in Florida, it can directly affect timesharing decisions. Although Florida courts believe in awarding parents shared parental responsibility whenever possible, a judge may well award sole parental responsibility to one parent if there is consistent behavior showing domestic violence on the part of the other parent. However, it is important to note that people accused or convicted of domestic violence can still be awarded timesharing rights in Florida.
The fact that domestic violence can directly impact timesharing decisions during a Florida divorce may not be a surprise. This is mainly because, in Florida, decisions regarding timesharing arrangements are made based on a child’s best interests.
So, what about when it comes to matters of alimony and property division? How does domestic violence influence alimony and property division decisions in Florida? Find out below.
How Does Domestic Violence Influence Alimony Decisions?
Usually, Florida courts do not consider fault when making alimony decisions. However, domestic violence can indirectly influence alimony decisions. When determining whether one spouse should pay alimony to the other spouse, Florida courts consider several factors, including each spouse’s earning capacity, income, physical and emotional health, and employability. Suppose domestic violence includes aspects related to financial abuse, such as preventing the victim from working and making his or her own money. In such a case, a judge may grant alimony to the victim.
How Does Domestic Violence Influence Property Division Decisions?
In Florida, courts usually divide marital property between spouses according to Florida’s equitable distribution laws; however, during divorce, as much as domestic violence may not directly influence property division decisions, the secondary effects of domestic violence might affect property division. For example, a victim of domestic violence may be awarded exclusive use and possession of a home if there are children involved and they need a safe and secure environment. In this case, the other spouse may not have access to the home.
Contact a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer Today
These are some issues to consider regarding how domestic violence might affect your divorce. Contact a qualified Jacksonville divorce attorney at the Lasky Law Firm today to get legal help.