Divorce takes a heavy toll on families, especially children who have to split their time between two households where one parent has been abusive to the other.  Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional abuse. Domestic violence is violence occurring at the hands of people known to the victim, such as partners, spouses, ex-spouses, parents, children, boyfriends, and girlfriends. Family law judges understand the impact household violence has on children and are reluctant to place a child in the custody of a parent prone to abusive behavior. Experienced legal counsel can help with Florida laws that govern how domestic violence will affect child custody decisions after divorce, or separation.

Widespread domestic violence.

Domestic violence affects millions of Americans despite efforts against it, including the issuance of domestic violence protective orders which may be issued if a family/household member commits one of the following acts of violence against another family/household member:

  • Assault, aggravated assault, and sexual assault,
  • Battery, aggravated battery, and sexual battery
  • Stalking and aggravated stalking,
  • Kidnapping,
  • False imprisonment, or
  • Any other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death.

Impact of domestic violence on custody.

Florida judges begin custody decisions with the presumption that both parents should share custody, unless it would be detrimental to the child. If a parent has been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, or worse, the courts presume that it would be detrimental to the child to give that parent custody. The convicted parent has the burden of proving to the court that he or she should share custody and visitation with the other parent.

The state of Florida refers to child custody as parental time-sharing, where one parent may have sole parental responsibility, or where parents split time equally with the child, or some other agreed upon arrangement, so that both parents are able to spend time with their children .  There are custody cases when a parent is a threat to the child, and custodial rights may need to be taken away, based on court decisions after custody and domestic violence hearings and reviews are concluded.

Hire an Attorney.

Timesharing agreements, modifications, or custody changes due to the incidence of domestic violence must be made by an order of court by the judge assigned to an individual case for the protection of the affected children. After divorce, parents need to be confident in the safety and continued care of their children.  An experienced family law attorney can prepare emergency paperwork for custody documents that will remove a child, or keep them from visitation when one parent has a history of domestic violence.

The Law Offices of Yeazell & Sweet      

1901 Ulmerton Road Suite 435
Clearwater, FL 33762
Main: 727-851-9555

Office: 727-480-6211





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