Domestic violence among married couples can occur in several forms (e.g., physical assault, verbal attacks, or exercise of financial control). Even one incident of domestic violence can physically and emotionally traumatize victims for years to come.
Domestic violence is one reason many married men and women decide to leave their marriages. While Florida is a no-fault divorce state, domestic violence can still have an impact on your divorce, particularly when it comes to child custody, alimony, and property division.
What is no-fault divorce?
While both spouses may blame each other for the demise of the marriage, Florida courts are generally not concerned with who was at fault for the divorce. Citing that the marriage is irretrievably broken (you and your spouse just do not get along anymore) is enough to end the marriage.
Impact of domestic violence on divorce
While a Florida divorce can be granted without citing fault, domestic violence allegations can still impact the outcome of a divorce. Here is how domestic violence could impact several divorce-related issues:
- Child custody: If a parent has been convicted of a domestic violence crime (first degree or higher, there is rebuttable presumption that there is detriment to the child and that the parent should not have custody of the child. Even if there is not a conviction, courts may still consider a history of domestic violence when determining which custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child.
- Alimony: Generally, a victim of domestic violence will not have to pay alimony to their abuser. The court will consider whether domestic violence impacted a spouse’s emotional, physical and/or financial well-being and may increase or decrease alimony payments based on this determination.
- Property division: Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning that courts will divide up marital property fairly and equitably in a divorce, rather than equally between the spouses. Therefore, the court may consider domestic violence when determining who should get what.
Domestic violence can impact a divorce, even in a no-fault divorce state like Florida. A family law attorney can help determine how domestic violence may impact your divorce.