Domestic Violence Sanctions

There are several sanctions that can be imposed at the conclusion of a civil domestic violence hearing.   Florida Domestic Violence Statutes provide the judge a wide variety of sanctioning power in order to ensure all safety and welfare concerns are addressed.   It is important for each party involved in a domestic violence case to understand the different types of sanctions and the impact each may have on their everyday life.

At the conclusion of a civil domestic violence hearing, the judge will first weigh the facts and evidence and make a determination of whether the Temporary Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence should be extended.   The judge has the discretion to enter a permanent injunction which can vary in duration and conditions.

In the event a Permanent Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence is entered, a no contact order well be issued against the Respondent.   The no contact order serves to limit the contact a Respondent may have with the Petitioner.   Similarly, in the event the Parties have minor children in common, the Court can impose a timesharing schedule between the Parties and minor children.   Unlike a Florida divorce, a domestic violence judge typically will not set a separate hearing on children's issues, and rather will impose a timesharing schedule based on the evidence presented at the domestic violence trial.     The terms of the timesharing schedule will vary according to each particular case's facts and may include restrictive terms including supervised visitation and other requirements regarding pick-up and drop-off locations.

Further, the Court has the power to impose support obligations on the Respondent.   These support obligations include terms for child and spousal support.   Additionally, a judge may provide a spouse and children exclusive use and possession of the marital home, and can restrict a Respondent's right to re-enter or visit the property in question.

Additional domestic violence sanctions include a mandatory requirement that a Respondent who is found guilty of a domestic violence act attend a batterer's intervention program and turn in all firearms to local authorities.   The Court in its discretion may also require a Respondent to attend other classes designed to address substance abuse issues.   It is important to note that the Court's sanctions are not optional and if a Respondent fails to comply with the court order, the court can hold the Respondent in contempt.

Because of the severity and impact of a domestic violence hearing, it is crucial for each party to understand the array of sanctions possible and to ensure that each seek the assistance of a qualified domestic violence attorney.