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How do Florida courts protect spouses from domestic violence?

Being a victim of violence is never pleasant, but it is even worse when the abuser is also your spouse. Many victims of domestic violence often fear retribution for reporting attacks against them or their children. Fortunately, the state of Florida considers domestic violence a serious issue and provides powerful legal protections that are intended to separate victims from their abusers.

An injunction for protection against domestic violence is essentially a court order that restrains one spouse from having contact with their victims. If you are currently being victimized, Florida statutes can grant you temporary custody of your children, child support and can even force your abuser to leave your marital residence. Persons named in the injunction can actually be arrested by police on the spot if they fail to comply with the order.

Also, many people are unaware that domestic violence is a broad term that refers to a wide variety of violent and controlling acts. The unwanted following or harassment of a spouse by another that is commonly referred to as stalking can be construed as an act of domestic violence.

The following are some examples of activities that a court may consider when determining whether to issue an injunction for protection:

-- A judge will usually attempt to discern whether the spouse is in some immediate danger of harm.

-- A spouse has made threats against the other to conceal, kidnap or injure their children.

-- A spouse has purposely injured or killed a family pet.

-- A spouse has a criminal history of violent activities.

-- A spouse has previously been ordered to stay away in another injunction for protection.

This is not a complete listing of all the factors a court may consider. What is important to remember is that your abuser will eventually have an opportunity to appeal any injunction ordered against them. You are allowed to have your family law attorney advise you regarding any subsequent appeal.

Source: WomensLaw.org, "Injunctions for Protection Against Domestic Violence" accessed Jan. 28, 2015

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