domestic abuse help - family law

How Domestic Violence/Abuse is Relevant in Your Divorce

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. As a divorce attorney, we are saddened by how many times an individual discloses that they suffer from domestic violence or abuse. No one deserves to be abused. Not you and not your children. Although many people think of domestic abuse only as domestic violence where one party physically injures the other, there are many forms of abuse. Although Florida is a no-fault divorce state, if you have been abused, you make that known to your divorce attorney. It may influence the divorce settlement.

The Process of Divorce

Florida now requires that you attempt either mediation or collaboration before going to court to obtain a divorce settlement. However, if you are a victim of abuse, whether physical, mental or any other form, you could be exempt from attempting the process. Let your divorce attorney know your situation in your first conversation if you are in an abusive relationship.

Child Custody

If you have been physically abused, there is a high probability that your abuser will turn on the children at some point. The court always takes the child’s best interests into account. That may mean limited or supervised visitation for the abuser or no visitation at all.

Division or Assets

Florida is an equitable distribution state. That means, in most cases, assets and liabilities are divided equally. However, in cases of physical abuse where there are children, the victim may be awarded the primary residence.


Many victims need alimony after their divorce. An abuse victim could have a harder time getting a job that will support them. Earning capacity and physical and emotional health are factors a judge can consider in their decision to award spousal support. One form of financial abuse is keeping someone out of the work force. This may make it harder for them to get a job. Victims of emotional abuse often lack the self-esteem to get a job and require counseling before they can perform a job at any level.

Let Wagstaff & Pitelis Help with Your Divorce

If you are looking for a compassionate divorce attorney in Largo, experienced in domestic abuse cases, call Wagstaff & Pitelis. Our attorneys will help you through the process without your having to face your abuser in mediation or collaboration. Call us today at (727) 584-8182 for your confidential appointment.