Articles Posted in Injunctions

Marital-Home-Florida-Family-LawAs experienced family law attorneys, we get many questions from prospective and current clients about moving out of their shared home and their concerns about “abandoning” the home.  As with any relationship, the answer is usually “it depends” but in reality, it’s important to realize that certain circumstances make the answer very simple, and courts quickly step in to help parties to deal with the temporary “split up” in the face of divorce.

Under Florida law, if you are married and residing in home that you purchased together, the marital home is a shared asset.  Simply moving out of the house does not mean that you have abandoned the property. In instances where your ex spouse or potential ex spouse has been violent or threatened  you with accusations (even false) of domestic violence that could have devastating impacts on your life, leaving the marital home is with good reason and would not result in you being viewed as an “abandoner.” In addition, courts recognize that when parties are going through a split up and tensions are high, getting out of the shared residence may be the best way for people to start working together to either co-parent or start the process of dividing to lead to resolution.

You do not lose your legal or property interest in the marital home, and while you should continue to make sure that the residence is continuing to be maintained, you can come to agreements with your separated spouse to divide the associated expenses to maintain the property.  If you are “breadwinner” spouse or the spouse who traditionally has paid for the home, ensuring that you are maintaining the financial status quo while occupying another place to live, is a reasonable approach to continue consistency and showing your ongoing interest in the marital home.

Court-House-300x274In the State of Florida and other states,  domestic violence injunctions can negatively impact your life in several different ways, including the inability to carry or have firearms, exclusion from consideration for jobs (or fired from jobs you may already have), and negatively impacting your timesharing with your children.

The injunction process begins by filing for a Petition for Temporary Injunction, which remains in place for 15 days until a hearing is held, where both parties are given the opportunity to be present. The Temporary Injunction can require the Respondent to have no contact with the Petitioner and to stay away from specific locations in which the Petitioner frequents including the shared home.  The contact includes direct contact like via phone, text, email, or other means, including through third parties, like friends or family.  A temporary injunction can also create a temporary parenting plan for the parties’ children.  Further, it can also establish child support for the care of the minor children during the timesharing.  Rights as far as a shared residence, and other considerations may be customized based on the needs of the case.  At the hearing, the judge will hold a hearing, where evidence, such as text messages, photos, testimony of the witnesses and parties, will be considered in weighing whether the court will order that a final injunction will be in place regarding the parties, the children, and the property at issue.

As part of an Injunction for Domestic Violence, the Court will also limit the Respondent to possessing firearms and ammunition.  Further, the Court may also order an anger management class, substance abuse evaluation, mental health evaluation, or any other tool that the court may feel is in the best interest of maintaining the safety of the parties.  The required tasks that are ordered are then monitored by the court to make sure that the ordered party has complied.  In some cases, parents may have supervised visits with their children, if the court feels that there is a risk of harm to the children.  In those cases, visitation can occur at a visitation center or with a mutually approved supervisor.  In cases where a supervision center is used, the visitation between you and your children will be observed by an unbiased adult who records notes and interactions that may be used later in court.   Further, in some cases, where children have been in the home during an incident of domestic violence, the Department of Children and Families may also become involved in your case to not only put a safety plan in place, but also offer services to the victim and the children.