Our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators at Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc. have found that mediating divorce or paternity cases where the parties’ marriage or relationship ended because of domestic violence can have some very specific difficulties.
These types of mediation can have many different issues as opposed to other types of Florida Family Law matters. These issues can include an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence, potential or active criminal prosecution against one of the parties and supervised or no visitation.
One big hurdle that our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators must overcome is attempting to convince the abuser that he or she no longer is able to control the actions of the party who has been the victim of abuse. Usually, the abused is totally dependent on the abuser and the abuser controls every aspect of the abused life. Our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators have conducted mediations where an abused will state that the other party demands to see the receipt from the grocery store in order to ascertain what time the abused checked out to see how long it took that person to arrive at home.
This problem is compounded when there is an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence in place and the abuser was ordered to have no contact with the abused in any manner – which includes email, text message, or social media such as Facebook or Twitter. Sometimes our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators are mediating a case where the two parties have had no contact whatsoever since the date that the abuser was served with the injunction. This can make the mediation much more difficult.
In a divorce mediation with an injunction in place, it is very common that the abused spouse was awarded temporary exclusive use and possession of the former marital residence and the abuser is only allowed to remove his or her personal property such as clothing, toiletries and work tools. This can result in our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators spending a fair amount of our mediation time dealing with the allocation of kitchenware, furniture, electronics and other items of personal property which many parties in a normal Florida Family Law case have already divided when they decided to no longer reside together.
Another issue that can arise where there is an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence in place that relates to time-sharing where the parties have children in common. At a hearing on whether to issue a permanent injunction, a Judge can provide the abused with 100 percent time-sharing with the parties’ minor children and award temporary child support. This is due to the fact that Florida law takes into consideration the long-lasting impact that domestic violence can have on children. Evidence of domestic violence is one of the factors that a Florida Family Law Judge is required by Florida Statute § 61.13 to consider when determining whether a Mediated Settlement Agreement is in the best interest of the child(ren) when the Court is asked to make the agreement part of a Florida Final Judgment.
Regardless of whether you are the accused or the accuser with respect to domestic violence, if you have any questions about mediating this issue you can contact Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc.