The Many Faces of Domestic Violence and Its Impact On Your Divorce
Domestic violence is an issue in an unfortunate number of marriages, and the signs are not always obvious to onlookers or even to the parties involved. Abuse has many faces, and in addition to physically violent behaviors such as hitting, grabbing, and pushing, there are types of psychological abuse that can harm your mental and financial wellbeing in ways you are not even aware of. If you are experiencing problems in your marriage and are contemplating a separation or considering filing for divorce, it is important to understand exactly what domestic violence is, and how it can impact your case.
Signs of Domestic Violence
Domestic abuse has reached epidemic portions in Florida and throughout the United States, victimizing people of all ages, genders, races, and economic backgrounds. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports that in our state alone, more than 100,000 cases are reported each year, impacting one in three women and one out of every four men. It can take the form of willful intimidation and coercion, as well as physical, verbal, and sexual assault. In addition to overt acts of physical aggression, the NCADV advises that signs of an abusive partner include:
- Extreme jealousy and possessiveness;
- Blaming the victim for problems or anything that goes wrong both inside and outside of the home;
- Preventing the victim from leaving the house, or sabotaging their efforts to work or go to school;
- Refusing to allow or sabotaging birth control;
- Demeaning or humiliating the victim, both in private and in public;
- Preventing them from having contact with family or friends;
- Controlling all finances, and demanding all income be turned over to them.
It is important to note that many abusers have no criminal record, and may be well respected members of their churches and communities. Their reputations outside the home are often used to convince their victims that the abuse is not occurring, or that the problem lies with them, rather than with the abuser.
Domestic Violence and Divorce
Under Florida dissolution of marriage statutes, we are considered a ‘no-fault’ divorce state, meaning that factors such as adultery, habitual drunkenness, or domestic violence are not required for a divorce to be granted. While it may not have significant impacts on your ability to obtain a divorce, domestic violence does impact other aspects of these proceedings, including:
- Parenting plans and timesharing, in which a history of abusive behavior could be used to limit or place conditions on time spent with children of the marriage;
- Property division, which is divided equitably, rather than evenly. You may be able to show your partner spitefully or frivolously misspent or withheld marital assets or destroyed marital property, thereby entitling you to a larger share.
- Alimony, which may be ordered or increased to make up for living expenses while allowing you to pursue educational or career training opportunities you were deprived of during the marriage.
Reach Out to Our Office for Professional Help
If you are contemplating a separation or divorce, contact the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC today. Our Florida divorce attorney acts as a trusted legal advocate and can advise you on your potential options, while making sure your rights and interests are protected.