Fort Lauderdale Domestic Violence Lawyer
First remove yourself from the situation and make sure you are safe
At Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, we can advocate for you if you are the victim of domestic violence. However, you must take the first step and help yourself by escaping the control of your abuser. Contact our Fort Lauderdale domestic violence lawyer for help today.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, first find a safe place and then call:
- Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- Florida Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-500-1119
- Florida DV Hotline TTY Number: 1-800-621-4202
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
Once you have secured a safe place to stay, our Fort Lauderdale domestic violence lawyer can give you the legal guidance and compassionate support you require in this difficult time. We can help you secure legal protections to help ensure the safety of you and your children and can help address how domestic violence will affect any current or future divorce or custody proceedings in Florida family court.
What qualifies as domestic abuse?
In Florida, domestic violence, or abuse, is defined by statute. Domestic violence cannot be brought about solely by words alone, although words and a threatening act may be enough. Domestic violence can be any of the following:
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated battery
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Aggravated stalking
- False imprisonment
- Any other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death
In addition, the violence cannot be by any member of the public at large. The perpetrator of the violence must be part of the abused family or household. A family or household member includes a spouse or former spouse, blood or marital relation, people living together as a family in the present or past or parents of a common child.
SItuations involving domestic abuse can vary significantly from case to case.and too many people wait to seek help as they do not believe their family member’s actions may rise to the level of domestic violence. You should never hesitate to consult with a domestic violence lawyer at our office as soon as possible to discuss your legal options and rights.
How a Fort Lauderdale domestic violence lawyer can help you
Once you have reached safety, your abuser may try to find you. An attorney can help you by securing a protection order, or restraining order, that requires your abuser to not perform certain acts. An injunction for protection can compel your abuser to:
- Stop contacting you
- Stop coming near you
- Leave your home
- Pay child support
- Give you temporary custody of your children
If your abuser continues to abuse or refuses to comply with the protection order, you should immediately contact the police and tell them:
- You have a protection order for domestic violence
- Information on where they can find you
- You are fearful for your safety
When the police arrive, it can be helpful to present them with a copy of the restraining order. If your abuser is not arrested, you should report the violation to the clerk’s office in the county where the abuse occurred. Typically, violence despite a restraining order is a misdemeanor in the first degree.
Initially, the court can issue you a temporary order of protection based on your statements alone. This can often be accomplished on weekends, nights, or even holidays, as the courts have a judge on call for this purpose to provide immediate legal protection for you and your children. Your abuser will usually not have the opportunity to fight against this initial order and an experienced attorney can help you obtain an emergency restraining order.
This order is only temporary, however, and in order to obtain a longer lasting protective order, you will have to participate in a court hearing. During this hearing, you will explain your reasons for wanting the order to the judge and can present evidence in support of your assertions. However, your abuser will also be able to take the stand and defend against the need for an order. Many abusers will try to claim that your allegations are false in order to avoid a restraining order whenever possible. It is critical to be represented by an attorney who fully understands domestic violence laws in Florida to ensure your best chances of obtaining the order you need for protection against domestic violence.
How Domestic Violence can Affect a Family Law Case
Domestic violence can affect divorce or custody cases in many different ways. First, allegations of violence can impact spousal support or property division determinations. In addition, if custody is an issue, the court will certainly consider any past domestic abuse when determining what is in the best interests of the child. Courts may award the non-violent parent sole custody of the child and may even require that any visits with the abusive parent be supervised. The parent may have to undergo counseling or anger management to even visit with the child.
While ensuring that children are safe from domestic violence, the situation can be complicated if you are wrongfully accused of being violent. In some situations, parents have made false allegations to try to gain the upper hand in a divorce or custody case. In such cases, a skilled lawyer can help you fight against the false accusations so that you get to continue seeing your children. It is important to note that any family law cases involving domestic violence are completely separate from any criminal charges that a prosecutor may bring against you. Overall, wrongful domestic violence allegations can adversely affect many different aspects of your life for a long time.
Find safety and then contact us for Fort Lauderdale domestic violence advocacy
You do not have to tolerate domestic violence. Find a safe place and then phone for help. Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC can help you establish a protection order to keep your abuser away. Our Fort Lauderdale office is close to Broward Hospital, north of Davie Boulevard, and just three blocks from the county courthouse. For a free initial consultation, call us today at 954.817.0402 or contact us online. Our office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday with Saturday appointments by request.