Protecting Yourself Against Violence During Divorce and Custody Proceedings
Divorce and custody matters are some of the most volatile issues dealt with in the Florida family court. Unfortunately, a former spouse or partner who feels desperate, threatened, or betrayed may be more likely to lash out and use intimidation or the threat of violence to get their way. Our Orlando family law attorneys know first-hand how quickly situations can escalate during this time, and how important it is to protect yourself. The following are signs to watch out for and steps you can take to ensure you and your loved one’s safety.
Signs of Impending Violence of Abuse
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), more than 100,000 cases of domestic violence are reported in Florida each year. Many of these abusers have no prior criminal record and fit no preconceived profile. They often attempt to keep their explosive tempers or possessive nature hidden, and are active, well respected members of the community.
Even someone who has shown no prior abusive behavior can cross the line when informed a spouse is leaving or during divorce proceedings. Feelings of jealousy and loss, concerns about money and property, and issues involving children can all serve to escalate preexisting tendencies, or cause someone to behave in a manner that may be uncharacteristic. The NCADV states that ways in which these people often act out include:
- Becoming extremely distrustful and possessive;
- Blaming you for all of their problems or the breakup of a marriage;
- Flying into fits of rage or jealousy;
- Stalking you at home, work, school, or on social media;
- Calling or texting obsessively;
- Making threats and acting in an intimidating manner;
- Being emotionally abusive and harassing;
- Doing damage to your personal or marital property, including harming the family pet;
- Threatening violence or physically assaulting you, your family, your friends, or others connected to your situation.
What To Do If You Feel Threatened
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that while you cannot prevent a partner from becoming abusive, there are three important steps you can take to protect yourself. They recommend doing the following:
- Trust your gut feelings. If something does not seem right or you feel threatened, take it seriously and avoid downplaying the situation.
- Learn the warning signs. Escalating fights, damage to property, and verbal threats should not be ignored.
- Get help. Report any incidents immediately to the police, and seek help through a domestic violence support group.
It is also important to notify your lawyer as soon as possible of any types of potential issues that could put you or your children in jeopardy. Depending on the circumstances, we may be able to get an order of protection through the court, and can make sure that any threats or altercations are reported to the judge in your divorce or custody proceedings.
Contact Our Florida Family Law Attorneys Today
If you are facing a potentially contentious divorce or child custody case, contact Hancock & Associates, P.A. Our Florida family law attorney provides the aggressive representation you need to guide you through your options, while protecting your rights and interests.