Domestic violence is a serious issue, not only within the U.S. military, which has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy, but also inside the Florida state court system.
A service member accused of domestic violence will likely be investigated by his command and may be subject to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Conduct. For members living on an installation, a Military Protective Order (MPO) may be issued requiring the service member to (i) surrender his or her weapons custody card, (ii) stay away from the family home, and/or (iii) refrain from contact with the victim. In addition, the victim may be referred to the local "Family Advocacy Program" office.
A victim of domestic violence by a service member can also petition the Florida family court for the issuance of a “stay away” order that will be enforced by the civilian police and which, if violated, could result in up to one year in jail. Criminal charges can also be filed the State Attorney.
Whether you are a victim of domestic violence, or defending against an allegation of domestic violence, you need the assistance of a lawyer who knows the nuances of both systems and can navigate a successful resolution for you and your family.
A. What is Domestic Violence in Florida?
Proof of domestic violence requires two separate elements. First, there must be some "act," usually physical violence or a threat of physical violence. Second, the act must be committed against a person with whom the actor has a "familial relationship."
Many acts, even if not overtly violent , can be considered domestic violence in Florida. For example, stalking and cyber-stalking can qualify as acts of domestic violence, as can false imprisonment and kidnapping.
The following types of "familial relationships" are covered under the domestic violence statute:
- Spouses and former spouses
- People related by blood
- People living together as family (or who have done so in the past); and
- People who have a child together, regardless of whether they were ever married.
B. Restraining Orders in Florida
Restraining orders are legally binding documents that require one party to stay a certain distance away from the other party. Victims of domestic violence, or those in fear of domestic violence, can petition the Florida court for the issuance of a restraining order.
In Florida court, the party seeking a restraining order must prove that domestic violence has occurred, or is likely to occur, before the judge will issue a permanent restraining order. However, temporary restraining orders may be granted without a hearing based on a party’s sworn pleading.
If you have been subjected to domestic violence by your spouse, partner or anyone else, you are entitled to protection regardless of whether that person is a military service member. And if you are a service member who has been served with a restraining order for alleged domestic violence, you have a right to defend yourself against those accusations and to try to find a solution that does not cause further irreparable damage to your family.
The lawyers at Davis Mockler Law, P.A. can help.
We can help you determine how to make sure your rights are protected in a Florida military divorce or family law case involving allegations of domestic violence.
Please continue reading to learn more about us. If you or someone you care about is facing a military divorce or family law case, we can help. Please do not hesitate to call us today at (813) 331-5699 or contact us online.