What is Considered Domestic Violence?

A gavel sits on a wooden table in front of a row of law books.

Although there has been a substantial increase in conversation, legislation, and awareness surrounding the topic of domestic violence, it is still a term that can be easily misunderstood. However, domestic violence is an all too common occurrence in the lives of Americans with statistics showing that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men having experienced domestic violence first hand. With a majority of the domestic violence acts occurring between intimate partners, including spouses, your Pensacola Family Law Attorney is well versed in the laws, legal actions, protections, and effects domestic violence has on family law cases.

Under Florida Statute 741.28 Domestic Violence is defined as “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.” Therefore, the law does not require a physical strike or visible damage as many believe. Instead, domestic violence encompasses many different forms of violence. For instance, physical violence, sexual violence, being restrained or confined, threatening remarks, creating an environment where a party is in fear of physical violence, or removing the ability of an individual to seek assistance.

However, it is important to note that there is a limitation as to the relationship between the victim and assailant. Per statute, in order to qualify as domestic violence, there must be a familial relationship or the parties must share a household. This includes, “spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.” Therefore, whether you are currently married for have been married to this individual in the past; if you share a child; if you share a blood line; are related through marriage; or have previously or presently are living together as a family unit, actions will be considered domestic violence. However, if you are only involved in a dating relationship without a shared minor child you will not qualify under this statute, however, other options are available to seek protection.

Defining domestic violence may seem unnecessary, however; there are many domestic violence victims who have been groomed to believe some of these actions are allowed within a relationship and no legal recourse or protection is available to them. It is important to discuss with your Pensacola Family Law Attorney any instances of domestic violence that have occurred between you and your partner in order to provide you with appropriate care and representation during your proceedings.

Speaking to an attorney at our Pensacola office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at (800) 822-5170 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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