Boynton Beach Domestic Violence Lawyer
The incidence of domestic violence in Florida has been trending downward over at least the last couple of decades, which is great news, but the numbers are still alarming. Over 100,000 domestic violence offenses are reported in Florida every year, including well over 5,000 in Broward County and more than 4,000 annually in Palm Beach County. Immediate help is available if you are being victimized by domestic violence, but you have to be ready to prove your case to get the protection you need. The Law Office of Taryn G. Sinatra, P.A., handles a lot of domestic violence cases in Palm Beach and Broward counties every year; we know what to do to get you the immediate and long-term protection you need to keep you and your children safe from abuse so you can live your life with the security you deserve. If you or your children are being abused, get to a safe place, call the police, and call our Boynton Beach domestic violence lawyers for the legal advice and representation you need in this critical, complex area of the law.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Florida?
Florida law defines domestic violence as any of the following when committed on one family or household member by another:
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated battery
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Aggravated stalking
- False imprisonment
- Any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death
A family or household member is defined in the law to cover the following types of relationships:
- Former spouses
- Persons related by blood or marriage
- Persons who reside together as a family
- Persons who previously resided together as a family
- Parents with a child in common
Florida law recognizes several categories of domestic violence, each with its own definition of what constitutes an offense. These categories include:
- Domestic violence
- Repeat violence
- Dating violence
What to Do as a Victim of Domestic Violence
First and foremost, get yourself – and your children if applicable – to a safe place away from the abuser. From there, call the police to report the abuse. This is important for your safety and also to formally document the abuse. Next, contact a family law attorney with experience dealing with domestic violence issues in your county. At the Law Office of Taryn G. Sinatra, P.A., we specialize in domestic violence matters in Palm Beach and Broward counties. We know the proper steps to take to file a petition for injunction against domestic violence, also known as a restraining order. Our office will take care of all required paperwork and make sure it is complete, accurate and drafted persuasively for a court to grant a temporary restraining order. Our family law specialists will also attend court on your behalf for a return hearing to extend the temporary order or get a long-term injunction if the temporary order was initially denied. We represent adult victims of domestic violence and also seek injunctions on behalf of minor children as needed.
To grant an injunction against domestic violence, the court must have reasonable cause to believe the petitioner is in imminent danger of domestic violence. In making this determination under Florida law, the judge is bound to consider all relevant factors, including but not limited to:
- The history between the petitioner and the respondent, including threats, harassment, stalking, and physical abuse.
- Whether the respondent has attempted to harm the petitioner or family members or individuals closely associated with the petitioner.
- Whether the respondent has threatened to conceal, kidnap, or harm the petitioner’s child or children.
- Whether the respondent has intentionally injured or killed a family pet.
- Whether the respondent has used, or has threatened to use, against the petitioner any weapons such as guns or knives.
- Whether the respondent has physically restrained the petitioner from leaving the home or calling law enforcement.
- Whether the respondent has a criminal history involving violence or the threat of violence.
- The existence of a verifiable order of protection issued previously or from another jurisdiction.
- Whether the respondent has destroyed personal property, including, but not limited to, telephones or other communications equipment, clothing, or other items belonging to the petitioner.
- Whether the respondent engaged in any other behavior or conduct that leads the petitioner to have reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.
Get a Protective Order Tailored to Your Needs
An injunction against domestic violence is not a one-size-fits-all document; rather, a restraining order can be tailored to meet your specific needs. We’ll present the court with a request for an injunction that serves and protects you according to your particular situation. An injunction can deal with any of the following matters, for example:
- Order the abuser not to have any contact with you or your children
- Order the abuser to move out of the house
- Define where and how custody exchanges will occur
- Rule on child custody itself
- Decide on custody of the family pets
- Decide who gets temporary possession of the family home
- Order alimony
- Order child support
As you can see, restraining orders can impact many of the decisions a family court would make in a divorce, including parenting and timesharing, alimony, and even the division of marital property. Domestic violence is also specifically listed as a factor for courts to consider when deciding timesharing in a divorce or custody dispute. This makes it even more important to have a qualified divorce lawyer representing you in your domestic violence matter.
Defending the Wrongfully Accused in Boynton Beach Domestic Violence Cases
As a well-established Florida family law firm in Boynton Beach, we know that sometimes people are wrongfully accused of domestic violence due to misunderstandings, a desire to get back at someone for a perceived wrong, or to gain an advantage in a divorce or custody battle. In these situations, we are prepared to defend the respondent in injunction proceedings, serving as a strong, effective advocate in court. If a party has provided false information regarding domestic violence, we can help bring that matter to light, which can further impact how a court rules on timesharing in a divorce or custody dispute.
Contact the Law Office of Taryn G. Sinatra, P.A., Today
The Law Office of Taryn G. Sinatra, P.A., stands ready to provide urgent help with domestic violence matters in Palm Beach or Broward County. Call our Boynton Beach domestic violence lawyers for immediate assistance or to discuss how issues of domestic violence could impact your Florida divorce or child custody dispute.