Fort Lauderdale Domestic Violence Attorney
Jennifer Kane Waterway, P.A. in Fort Lauderdale helps both victims and those accused of domestic violence, repeat violence, and stalking obtain or defend against protective injunctions under Florida law. These injunctions are commonly known as restraining orders and can arise in many contexts. They involve spouses in intact and broken marriages, some in the middle of divorce. They can involve unmarried partners, children, and even neighbors. The law provides immediate relief upon properly pled allegations, providing necessary help for someone at risk or immediate roadblocks to someone wrongly accused.
Florida Domestic Violence Law
Domestic violence includes any assault or battery, sexual assault or battery, stalking, or other criminal offenses resulting in physical injury committed by a family member or household member, including former spouses and persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have ever been married.
A victim of domestic violence or one who is in imminent danger of becoming a victim can go to court to get a protective injunction that orders the abuser to stay away from the victim. The court may award additional relief as well, including:
- Giving the victim exclusive use and possession of the home
- Creating or modifying a parenting plan and timesharing schedule, including limiting or prohibiting timesharing or requiring that timesharing be supervised
- Establishing support orders
- Ordering treatment
An injunction can be granted without a hearing and without the subject of the injunction being informed of it beforehand. However, the judge must hold a hearing within 15 days, so the respondent may seek to avoid the injunction. At the hearing, the judge can dismiss the injunction or extend it. A permanent injunction is sometimes needed but often unsupported by the evidence and can be very damaging if entered. Therefore, legal representation can be very important at these hearings.
Protective Injunctions for Repeat Violence, Sexual Violence, or Dating Violence
The law also allows for protective injunctions in the event of repeat violence, sexual violence, or dating violence. Two incidents of violence or stalking counts as repeat violence. Sexual violence includes sexual battery regardless of whether any criminal charges were ever filed or filed and dismissed. Dating violence is violence between individuals who have or had a continuing and significant romantic or intimate relationship.
Florida law also allows a person to get an injunction against another person for stalking or cyberstalking. There does not have to be any special relationship between the parties, such as present or former spouse or partner, in order to get an injunction. Stalking is defined as willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following, harassing, or cyberstalking someone. Harassing means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress and serves no legitimate purpose. Cyberstalking is sending harassing words or images through email or other electronic communication.
Domestic Violence and Divorce
Allegations of domestic violence can have a huge impact in a divorce proceeding. A person accused of domestic violence may wind up with only very limited timesharing, which means the other parent may be granted primary custody and awarded the family home. False allegations of domestic violence are considered by the court in custody disputes as well. If you feel you are being unfairly charged with domestic violence due to improper motives by the other party, legal representation is important to protect your rights.
Protect Yourself and Your Family from Domestic Violence and False Allegations of Domestic Violence
In cases of emergency, call 9-1-1. If you are unsure of your rights or need help dealing with domestic violence in a divorce, child custody dispute, or other family law matter, contact Jennifer Kane Waterway, P.A. for assistance.