By: Brusca Law
Domestic violence is devastating not only for the victim, but the victim’s family, friends, and sometimes even their employment status. Oftentimes, domestic violence claims are made in the midst of a family law case to gain leverage in the other pending custody dispute or child support modification case. According to Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has identified over 25 different causes of domestic violence which include individual, relationship, and community factors. Substance abuse, marital instability, psychological disorders, and other factors are known to often lead to domestic violence incidents.
Although it is free to file a Petition for Domestic Violence in Florida, some parties believe they can adequately defend or prosecute their own cases, a serious decision that has long term effects. If you are going through a custody dispute and are facing a domestic violence allegation or want to move forward with your own case, you should consider the following:
Research Florida Law on Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Other Types of Violence – When folks decide to represent themselves in a domestic violence case, they sometimes file the petition with the Clerk of Courts under the wrong statute or in the wrong county. This can be life altering to the victim and their children, and happens more than you know.
Each statute in Florida has very specific requirements for the type of violence that has occurred, and you will want to make sure you know the requirements for your type of violence or hire an attorney that can help navigate this issue for you. Additionally, if you are filing on behalf of your child, rather than yourself, you will want to be sure to speak with an attorney to ensure you are filing the petition correctly.
Find an Attorney You Trust – Most initial consultations with attorneys are free for the first thirty minutes. Speak with a few attorneys who can help you navigate the strength of your claim or defense. You might determine to proceed with the case or drop the charges depending on the circumstance.
Prepare for Hearing/Trial – We typically see folks show up to the court hearing with their cell phones in tow, and without any paper documentation or witnesses to prove the allegations in their petition for domestic violence. You will need to ensure you come to Court with your witnesses, and with 3 copies of everything you intend to introduce and make sure they are organized in advance of the trial/hearing. Unless you want the Court to take your cell phone as evidence, you must have all pieces of evidence printed out or copied on a computer or jump drive. If the Court takes your cell phone, you will not get it back after the hearing/trial.
Domestic Violence is a complicated issue that is not easy to navigate without an experienced attorney. Contact Brusca Law for a free consultation and speak with Lauren Roderick Brusca to understand your rights, responsibilities, and prepare you for the many unknowns in a domestic violence proceeding. Contact us today by calling 407-502-6564 or by filling out the contact us form.