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Knowing When To Take Action To Protect Yourself In Divorce


Divorce generates a lot of emotion, and can spur spouses to engage in less than helpful or productive behavior. However, there is a distinct difference between venting frustrations to an estranged spouse, and making unwarranted threats to intimidate him/her or control the situation. Even when spouses agree that divorce is necessary, anger and resentment are common emotions that can get out of hand. Anger, however, is okay, if it is not accompanied by threats or behavior that endanger a spouse, child or other loved ones. Divorce is filled with sensitive issues prone to provoking disagreement in couples seeking an amicable separation, and are consequently more worrisome when a spouse is determined to make the process as difficult as possible. Knowing where to draw the line between a heated argument and illegal abuse is not always easy, but is necessary to protect against violence and harm. Tweets from Rep. Joe Abruzzo’s estranged wife alleging he engaged in threats and harassment to pressure her to settle their disputed case were recently posted, including claims she tried to have him arrested for domestic violence. Recognizing words and behavior that trip the line into illegality is critical information a spouse in danger of abuse needs to understand so the proper protective actions can be taken to reduce the likelihood of harm. A discussion of the issues that should trigger contacting a divorce attorney getting an injunction for domestic violence will follow below.


While words cannot cause physical harm, this does not mean a person is free to make verbal threats of violence against a spouse, child, family members or other closely connected individuals without facing serious consequences. Any threat to injure or kill someone should be taken seriously and immediately reported to police, even indirect threats. There is no way to know for certain if these acts will be carried out, and it is not worth risking one’s safety over concerns of overreacting to a statement.

Destruction of Property

Destroying property, whether it be a cell phone, car or piece of furniture, is another impermissible act of aggression that can justify the issuance of an injunction for domestic violence. Because the violence was not directed toward an individual, it can be easy to dismiss this behavior as non-dangerous, but Florida law specifically identifies destruction of property as evidence justifying an injunction. Thus, if this behavior is enough to warrant an injunction, it should be enough for a spouse to realize that action needs to be taken.

False Imprisonment

False imprisonment, or preventing a person from leaving a place or contacting authorities, is both a crime and grounds for obtaining an injunction for domestic violence. A spouse does not have the right to restrain the movement of the other spouse or any loved one, and an injunction would specifically order them to cut off all forms of contact so additional harmful acts are prevented.

Other Situation Necessitating Police Involvement

Finally, two other acts that do not necessarily directly impact an injunction for domestic violence, but are truly disturbing nonetheless, are attempts at child abduction and threats of suicide. Parents in fear of losing or receiving only restricted custody rights may take drastic measures to keep physical custody of his/her child by taking them out of the State or country without permission or knowledge of the other parent. If there is a custody-related order in place, the parent could be charged with a criminal act, and police have authority to intervene and return the child to the other parent. Threats of suicide should also be taken seriously, as whether the person will actually attempt to end his/her life is hard to predict, and not worth risking, especially if there is a child to consider.

Get Help

Dealing with divorce and domestic violence is easily an overwhelming situation that would greatly benefit from the advice and guidance of an experienced divorce attorney. Joyce A. Julian, P.A. represents clients in the Fort Lauderdale in all matters related to divorce, including domestic violence, and is prepared to offer the type of strong and customized representation you need to achieve the best possible results. Contact the office to schedule a free consultation.



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