Domestic Violence and Family Law: Legal Protections for Victims in Miami

Domestic violence and family law are two of the most sensitive and emotional legal issues. These situations often involve a complex mix of criminal and family law matters that affect the entire family. Whether it is an alleged crime of aggravated battery against a spouse or an allegation of coercive control in a custody dispute, a victim’s safety, autonomy and financial well-being are at stake. A large number of resources and legal avenues exist for victims. It is essential that victims be fully informed on how to access these resources and understand their legal rights.

Victims of domestic violence are often afraid to report abuse and are unsure about the steps they should take to get help. This lack of awareness and fear is a major reason why violent crimes are not reported or why potential witnesses refuse to step forward. Changing these perceptions and encouraging people to report abuse and seek assistance is the best way to make a difference in combating this issue.

Whether an abuser is physically or emotionally abusive, the goal of domestic violence is to gain power and control over his or her intimate partner. A pattern of violence may include sexual, physical, economic and emotional abuse. It can also include any kind of coercive behavior that threatens, intimidates, manipulates, humiliates, isolates or frightens a victim/survivor. This may include controlling where a victim/survivor lives, who she goes with, how she spends her money, and even what she eats.

The Florida legislature recently enacted several laws to help victims of domestic violence and family violence, including the creation of a statewide registry that includes all orders of protection and related bench and arrest warrants; matrimonial, divorce, paternity, child support and custody cases; non-family offense cases between intimate partners; and juvenile offender cases. The statute also requires that a court notify a victim/survivor of the availability of shelter and other services and provide her or him with written notice of her legal rights and remedies. The statute also prohibits a court from providing the names and addresses of victims to third parties without consent.

Additionally, Florida has a state constitutional amendment known as Marsy’s Law. This initiative, which would enshrine a long list of victim’s rights into the state constitution, has been controversial. Its supporters believe that putting these rights in the constitution would send a clear message that they are a priority and need to be honored uniformly across the state. Opponents say that it could harm defendants, create loopholes and add unexpected costs.To learn more how to deal with domestic violence legally visit

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