What is Domestic Violence Under Florida Laws?

Florida Laws on Spousal Abuse

In Florida, domestic violence and spousal abuse includes any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family member or household member by another family member or household member. Florida domestic violence laws indicate that the petitioner in a domestic violence action must be a victim or in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence. While the definition of domestic abuse includes physical abuse, it does not specifically list emotional abuse amongst its definitions.

Domestic Violence Statistics

Statistics on domestic violence estimated that:

  • Every 9 seconds a woman in the United States becomes a victim of domestic violence.
  • World-wide, 1 in every 3 women will be physically abused or coerced into sex during their lifetime.
  • The leading cause of injury to women is domestic abuse.
  • It is estimated that 10 million children per year witness some form of domestic abuse.
  • On average, 3 women are murdered per day in the US by their male partners.
  • US domestic abuse victims lose nearly 8 million days of work per year.
  • The cost of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceeds $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.
  • Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents.

Florida Temporary Restraining Orders

Domestic violence laws indicate that a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) may be filed to provide immediate relief from domestic violence. The Family Court judge will consider ONLY the verified pleading or affidavit of the petitioner in deciding whether to grant a TRO. If the Temporary Restraining Order is granted, the respondent is entitled to notice and a hearing within 15 days of the issuance of the TRO. A TRO may include relief including an order preventing further abuse, an award of any jointly occupied residence, temporary child custody provisions, and a no contact provision.

Permanent Restraining Orders in Florida

At the hearing on the domestic violence victim’s pleading or affidavit, the Family Court judge will take testimony from the victim of domestic violence, the person alleged to have committed the abuse and any other appropriate witness. If granted, permanent restraining orders generally include provisions to stop violence in the future including provisions regarding occupancy of any jointly owned or rented home, child custody (known as time-sharing in Florida) parenting plan schedules for the children, temporary alimony or child support, and provide for no-contact between the respondent and the petitioner. The Florida Family Court judges are aware of the enormous implications upon divorce, child custody, support and other family law issues that can come into play with the entry of a permanent restraining order and are cautious to enter such orders unless they believe the evidence supports such a finding. Our Florida domestic violence attorneys work closely with our clients to ensure that we understand the domestic violence allegations and our clients’ positions on the allegations.

If you are the subject of a restraining order, you must act cautiously to avoid further criminal penalties that could include imprisonment or an extension of the restraining order.

Contact our Miami Spousal Abuse Attorneys

Contact our Miami family law attorneys at 305-222-7351, or e-mail us to schedule an appointment to discuss your Dade CountyBroward County, or Monroe County domestic violence issue.

Our Miami domestic violence lawyers accept family law cases in Miami-Dade County, Broward County and Monroe County. Consultations are available in person in Miami and at several meeting locations throughout Dade and Broward Counties including Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, Galiano Street in Coral Gables, West Country Club Drive in Aventura and Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood and in the Homestead area. Appointments are also available by telephone and via Skype internet video chat.

Read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section.