Domestic Violence Lawyer in Palm Coast, FL

domestic violence lawyer Palm Coast, Florida

Florida law defines domestic violence as assault, battery, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member. Florida courts can sentence individuals convicted for domestic violence to as little as a year’s probation and completion of a “batterers’ intervention program.”

Unfortunately, domestic violence problems tend to get worse over time, not better. Minimum sentences meant to give an offender the opportunity to straighten up often give them the opportunity to do further harm.

If you are in a violent domestic relationship in Flagler or Volusia County, Florida, the domestic violence lawyers of Chiumento Law, PLLC, have the skills and experience to help you understand your rights and protect yourself from further harm. We can discuss steps that you can take to keep you and your family safe, including seeking a protective order.

Our lawyers have been practicing law in Volusia and Flagler counties for over 40 years. Our goal is to protect you and your family. Contact us in full confidentiality at (386) 445-8900 or online today to start to end the cycle of domestic physical and psychological abuse.

How Does Florida Define Domestic Violence?

Florida law defines domestic violence as any of a variety of criminal acts perpetrated by one family or household member against another family or household member. They include:

  • Assault (including threats, intimidation)
  • Aggravated assault (murder, manslaughter)
  • Battery
  • Aggravated battery
  • Sexual assault (fondling/groping)
  • Stalking
  • Aggravated stalking
  • Kidnapping
  • False imprisonment
  • Or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death

Under the law, “family or household member” includes:

  • Spouses
  • Former spouses
  • Persons related by blood or marriage
  • Persons who are presently (currently) residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family
  • 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 must have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit, the statute says.

Similar protections are provided to victims of “dating violence,” defined as violence between individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. To be legally considered a dating relationship, the relationship must have:

  • Existed within the previous 6 months
  • Been characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties; and
  • Included the frequency and type of interaction between the two over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship.

Domestic Violence Cases In Florida

Domestic violence is all too common in Florida. In 2020, according to the Florida Department of Health, there were 106,515 domestic violence cases reported across Florida. That’s a rate of more than 492 cases per 100,000 population – or people – in our state.

The 612 reported cases of domestic violence in Flagler County (Palm Coast, Flagler Beach) in 2020 translate to a rate of more than 536 per 100,000 population, significantly more than the statewide rate.

Even more distressing are the 3,914 cases of domestic violence reported in Volusia County (Daytona Beach, Deland, New Smyrna Beach, Ormond Beach) in 2020, a rate of 716 per 100,000 population.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) reports 659 total domestic violence offenses reported in Flagler County in 2019 and 445 arrests made – a 65.7% arrest rate.

The FDLE reports 4,272 total domestic violence offenses reported in Volusia County in 2019 and 3,217 arrests made – a 75.3% arrest rate.

What Are Some Common Signs of Domestic Abuse?

Someone you know may be a victim of domestic violence. The Florida Department of Children and Families says domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors that adults use to maintain power and control over their current or former intimate partners. The abuse often includes:

  • Physical violence
  • Sexual violence
  • Emotional abuse
  • Economic abuse
  • Isolation
  • Pet abuse
  • Threats relating to children
  • A variety of other behaviors meant to increase fear, intimidation, and power over the victim

Though abusers and victims/survivors can be found among all ages, races, religions, cultures, genders, sexual orientations, marital status, and economic status, most domestic violence is committed by men. Women are five times more likely than men to be the target of violence inflicted by an intimate partner.

Children who witness or are subjected to domestic violence may show signs of trauma, such as higher levels of aggressive behavior, depression and anxiety, difficulty getting along with others, and difficulty performing well in school.

What To Do If You’re a Victim of Domestic Violence

If you have experienced domestic violence, you should consider developing a safety plan.

If you are in fear of immediate physical harm from a domestic partner or anyone else, dial 911 for assistance from law enforcement. Police or the FL Department of Children and Families can put you in contact with a variety of resources to help you with:

  • Adult Protective Services
  • Child Welfare/Protective Services
  • Food assistance, temporary cash assistance, and Medicaid
  • Homelessness Services.

How To File A Domestic Violence Complaint in Florida

A person who has been subjected to any form of domestic violence may seek a restraining order, which is a civil court order restricting individuals who have allegedly committed acts or made threats of violence against the victim.

In Florida, a restraining order is known as an “injunction for protection.”

Florida law separates final injunctions for protection into four categories:

  • Injunction For Protection Against Domestic ViolenceFiling a Lawsuit
  • Injunction for Protection Against Repeat Violence (at least two incidents of violence or stalking, including one within the previous 6 months)
  • Injunction for Protection Against Sexual Violence
  • Injunction for Protection Against Dating Violence

To obtain an injunction, an individual who has had domestic violence directed toward them must first petition, or ask, a judge to issue the order. This requires completing a 9-page form, which Chiumento Law can help you with.

For the court to issue an injunction, the petitioner must establish that she or he has an objectively reasonable fear that she or he is in “imminent danger” of becoming the victim of an act of violence. As your domestic violence attorneys, we would speak for you in court and provide evidence as to why an injunction for protection with the provisions outlined in your petition is necessary to safeguard your well-being.

If you are under the age of 18 and you have never been married or “emancipated” (had the disabilities of nonage removed by a court), then a parent, custodian, or legal guardian must sign this petition with you. If necessary, we can help you obtain a court-appointed guardian ad litem who will advocate for you as the court makes the decisions.

The judge who receives the petition may initiate a temporary injunction, determine that the allegations are insufficient for a temporary injunction but find that a hearing is merited, or determine that the situation does not meet the requirements for a temporary injunction or a hearing.

When issued, a temporary injunction takes effect immediately after the respondent is served with a copy and lasts until a hearing is held. The court will have scheduled a hearing within 7 to 15 calendar days of receiving the petition, and the respondent will be served with notice of the hearing along with the injunction.

At the hearing, you will be expected to testify about the facts in your petition, and your lawyers from Chiumento Law will continue to advocate for your safety. The respondent will be given the opportunity to testify at this hearing, as well. The judge will then determine whether to grant a “final judgment” based on testimony from you, the respondent, and any eyewitnesses. A final judgment may apply restrictions indefinitely or have a specific expiration date.

Either party may request changes to a final order if they can present evidence that changes are warranted, such as that the respondent has changed his or her ways. But while an injunction is in effect, if either party fails to comply with the order, the aggrieved party may file a motion for civil contempt.

Violating an injunction for protection may be punished by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Contact Our Domestic Violence Attorneys in Palm Coast, FL

The Florida courts and the family law attorneys of Chiumento Law, PLLC, can help you if you are being subjected to domestic abuse or violence. Contact us for a prompt and compassionate response that explains your legal options and directs you to additional local domestic violence resources available to help you. We can gather evidence, subpoena witnesses and serve as a protective buffer between you and your abuser as we help you obtain an injunction for protection in Flagler, Volusia, or another Florida county.

Contact us online or call us at (386) 445-8900 for a free and confidential legal consultation.

We’re Proud to be Involved in the Community

Chiumento Law, PLLC has contributed to schools and other organizations that have made a difference in the community and take pride in portraying an active role in our community. Flagler and Volusia Counties hosts an array of events and we are proud to be a part of many of them!

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Chiumento Law, PLLCAttorneys At Law

Palm Coast

145 City Pl #301
Palm Coast, Florida 32164
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(386) 753-3293
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Ormond Beach

57 W. Granada Blvd.
Ormond Beach, FL 32174
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