One of the most important goals of life after divorce is financial independence. But, in many situations of domestic violence, victims are often afraid to file for divorce for fear that they will not be able to survive financially without their abuser.
This is why the definition of domestic abuse has changed in Florida New legislation has expanded the definition of domestic abuse in order to better protect victims and give them legal control they need to achieve financial independence, especially in cases of divorce.
What Constitutes Financial Control?
Domestic abuse is no longer limited to threats of violence and physical harm, but also includes, “mental and emotional abuse, financial control, document control, property control, and other types of control that make a victim more likely to return to an abuser to due to fear of retaliation or inability to meet basic needs.”
Financial control is essentially any type of control that prevents a victim from divorcing or leaving their abuser for fear of being financial bereft or unstable. This can appear in a variety of ways:
- The abuser is the breadwinner of the household, bringing in the majority of the money necessary to meet basic needs such as food, shelter, and transportation.
- The victim does not work or has difficulty securing work for themselves.
- The abuser has left the victim in debt due to gambling, addiction, or other financial issues
- The victim feels indebted to the abuser (if they paid for their schooling, childcare, etc.)
- The abuser and victim share joint accounts or assets that the victim is afraid of losing
The statute also makes it easier for victims to obtain an Order of Protection if they are experiencing these more complicated forms of domestic violence – i.e. financial control, controlling the victim's access to essential documents like social security cards, and controlling the victim's property against their will. The law also protects the right to financial assistance for victims who petition for the dissolution of an abusive marriage.
How Domestic Abuse Affects Divorce
Allegations of domestic abuse can significantly impact the outcome of a divorce, especially if children are involved. Custody may be scrutinized by a judge carefully, since the new statute makes the safety of the victim and any children involved of paramount importance.
In regards to property division – financial control can impact how a judge may decide to divide property among the victim and the abuser if they are divorcing. Victims should always protect their best interests with the help of an experienced attorney in order to secure financial stability.
Gordon N. Shayne is a divorce attorney with 40 years of legal experience. Committed to achieving the legal goals of his clients, he is here to help you protect your best interests throughout your divorce. He can effectively identify and communicate financial control to a judge in court. Contact Gordon N. Shayne to protect your financial future during your divorce today.
Disclaimer: The blogs posted on ShayneLaw.com are offered for informational purposes only. These blogs are not a solicitation for legal business and should not be construed as providing any legal advice or legal opinions as to any specific fact or circumstance. Specific legal issues, concerns and conditions always require the advice of an appropriate legal professional. To obtain legal advice or opinions about Florida family law, personally consult with a licensed Florida attorney.