Domestic violence or the threat of violence can endanger the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of you and your children. Many victims of domestic abuse from a spouse are hesitant to leave their marriages out of fear of the potential retaliation from their spouse. Anyone who is fearful should be aware of legal tools in Florida that can help to protect victims of domestic violence and their children. For example, a protective order will legally prevent a spouse from coming near or contacting you or your children or they may face serious legal penalties.
If a victim of domestic violence does decide it is time to leave a marriage, it is understandable that he or she would want to legally dissolve the marriage as soon as possible. Some individuals run into difficulties, however, if they have only recently moved to the state of Florida. This is because Florida law requires you to live within the state for six months before a family court judge will grant you a divorce.
Bill to Make an Exception for Domestic Violence Victims
A new legislative measure filed by state Representative Halsey Beshears (R-Monticello) would carve out an important exception to the residency requirement for a Florida divorce if one spouse has been physically or emotionally abusive to the other spouse and/or their children. This would mean that, if a marriage is abusive, a spouse would not have to wait six months after moving to Florida for a divorce.
Often, abusive spouses want to move their families away from family and/or friends to isolate them. This often means that the domestic violence victim does not have as much of a financial or emotional support system in a new home state. If an abused spouse has nowhere to go and no way to support children in Florida, he or she may be essentially held hostage in the marriage until the six-month waiting period is over. The new law seeking to change these often dangerous circumstances is in its early stages, but we will eagerly watch its progress and post updates here.
In the meantime, if you have not lived in Florida for six months and are in an abusive marriage there are other legal options to pursue before you can actually file for divorce. You should discuss your case with an experienced domestic violence attorney in Florida as soon as possible to learn how you can protect yourself and your children.
Ask a Committed Boca Raton Family Law Attorney for Help
Whether you are a victim of domestic violence, you want a divorce, or both, experienced Boca Raton family law lawyer Alan R. Burton can assist you. Our office represents individuals in a wide range of family law matters, including orders of protection, child custody cases, and the entire divorce process. We offer free, confidential consultations to evaluate your case and give you more information regarding how we can help in your individual situation. Please do not hesitate to call today at 954-229-1660 for assistance.