Who has a domestic violence restraining order entered against them?
Who violates an order of protection that has been entered against them?
Not just the stereotypical abusers that many people may think of. In fact, it could be anyone.
Take, for example, the principal of a high school in Illinois (Principal), a seemingly unlikely subject of an injunction for protection against domestic violence.
A domestic violence restraining order was nonetheless entered against Principal to protect his ex-wife.
The order of protection prohibited Principal from approaching her home, drinking or frequenting bars.
Just a couple of months after its entry, Principal pleaded guilty to violating the domestic violence restraining order in the vicinity of his former wife’s home.
Principal spent thirty-four days in confinement, and was sentenced to two years’ probation.
Principal resigned from his job after his arrest.
Read more in this [central Illinois] Pantagraph article: Ex-Pontiac high school official gets probation.
Parent obligated to pay (Obligated Parent) loses their job. Maybe they find another job … but it pays less. Maybe they don’t.
Obligated Parent falls behind on child support. Further and further behind.
Obligated Parent just lets time go by and their obligations mount. They’re looking for a job, or a better one.
Perhaps proceedings to suspend Obligated Parent’s driver’s license are begun. Perhaps the other parent has already filed a Motion for Contempt and Enforcement.
Now Obligated Parent finally consults a family law lawyer and tells family law attorney they want to file to reduce child support (or alimony) … and “wipe out those arrears”.
That’s when the lawyer cringes. Every single time.
Because modifications of child support (or, for that matter, modifications of alimony) are prospective only. That means that the amount of support may be modified from the date of filing forward.
But not retroactively.
Modifications of child support (or modifications of alimony) do not cancel arrearages that have accrued already. And cannot reduce them.
Granted, a holding of contempt may not be in the cards, depending on the circumstances. But an order establishing the arrearages and enforcing payment will be.
Read more in this Boston Herald article: To get child support reduced, go to court now. Note: Massachusetts law and procedure differ from Florida law and procedure in certain important respects.
They’ve been around for a while. But they weren’t universally or wholeheartedly embraced. Parenting coordinators.
But that will likely be changing next month. Due to a new statute.
And the recently imposed requirement that a parenting plan be made in Florida divorces involving children and Florida paternity cases involving children of separating parents who were never married.
A Florida parenting plan is a detailed statement of how parenting responsibilities (decisionmaking, timesharing and support) will be allocated between the parents. More detailed than marital settlement agreements and paternity settlement agreements have commonly been in the past.
Many parents find it difficult to agree on all of the provisions in a complete Florida parenting plan … Leaving it to the court to work out the details of the parenting plan.
Enter the parenting coordinator.
After the parenting plan is entered by the court, many parents find it difficult to live by the plan. Conflict erupts at exchanges.
Again, enter the parenting coordinator.
A parenting coordinator works with parents outside the courtroom to amicably develop or implement a parenting plan without litigation, to arrive at a Florida uncontested divorce or uncontested paternity case.
Depending on the wording of the order of referral to parenting coordination, the parenting coordinator may make recommendations to the court, or may actually have limited authority to rule on and decide certain disputes between the parents.
But parenting coordinators’ primary focus is to help the parents work together to resolve parenting disputes on their own without conflict.
Read more in this press release: National Cooperative Parenting Center Responds to New Florida Legislation.
Central Florida Husband is reportedly having an affair about which Wife found out.
Husband is a police officer.
During an argument, Wife refers to Husband’s paramour by an unflattering name.
Husband allegedly drags Wife out of bed into the kitchen, where he smashes her head against a granite countertop.
Leaving Wife with a bump on her head and a bruise on her arm.
Police officer-Husband is arrested for domestic battery on Wife and confined.
Law enforcement takes possession of Husband’s guns.
Husband is suspended with pay.
It is not clear whether a Florida domestic violence restraining order or order of protection is also entered against Husband.
It would certainly not be unexpected for Wife to seek and obtain a Florida injunction for protection against domestic violence in addition to pressing criminal domestic violence charges against her police officer-Husband.
Read more in this Orlando Sentinel article: Casselberry officer arrested on domestic-violence charge.
Ohio Father is a sheriff.
Father admits to spending many of his working hours on pornographic websites.
Father’s employment is terminated.
Father sues the County that employs him for discrimination in terminating him!
Father’s employing County offers Father a $1,000 bone by way of settlement.
Father is behind in his child support payments to Mother by several thousand dollars.
Now the County’s prosecutor and child support enforcement office are looking to attach the Father’s settlement money to pay Mother toward Father’s child support arrearages.
When the opportunity presents itself, garnishing or attaching monies that a county or the state owes to the obligated parent is an excellent means of Florida child support enforcement or collection too.
Read more in this Dayton [OH] Daily News article: Deputy who admitted surfing porn owes child support
Obvious? Not so.
So many Florida residents think (or, anyway, say) they have a “simple uncontested divorce“, often adding “there’s really nothing to fight about”.
But that does not make a Florida divorce uncontested. Not even close.
There is one way – and only one way – that a Florida divorce becomes an uncontested Florida Divorce.
And that way is … both spouses must sign a marital settlement agreement that resolves the issues.
(OK, technically, there are two other ways. One, if the other spouse allows a default to be entered and to stand. Two, the other spouse signs an answer and waiver. Don’t count on either of those two things being more likely to happen.)
At a minimum, those issues include:
- property division, technically called “equitable distribution” of marital assets and debts
- alimony, technically called spousal support
and, if the spouses have children together,
- parental responsibility (in the sense of decision-making authority) (the term custody is now obsolete in Florida)
- timesharing (formerly known as “visitation”) and
- child support.
The latter three matters must be spelled out more particularly in a “parenting plan“.
Don’t get me wrong. There can be many other issues too, large and small.
But the point is: if one spouse is unwilling to sign a marital settlement agreement (or the desired marital settlement agreement) resolving these issues then, with the two possible but very unusual exceptions cited above, the divorce is not uncontested.
No matter how much the other spouse would like it to be. No matter how unreasonable the refusal to sign may be.
Period. End of story.
So even though the divorce may be simple and there may not be anything to fight about, the only way that divorce will happen is after a trial.
Husband has close ties to mob family.
Husband opts to testify against various alleged mob members in return for concessions in criminal charges against himself.
Husband is in midst of a divorce, with one still-minor Daughter involved.
Husband accuses Wife of not promoting “normal” relationships between Husband and their children.
Husband is in the federal witness protection program. FBI agents accompany Husband everywhere.
Even when exercising timesharing with Daughter. Wife is not thrilled by potential risks to Daughter and reportedly withholds visitation.
Husband and Wife had lavish life style. Before Husband entered witness protection.
Now Husband claims to be broke. Wife doesn’t buy it.
Wife asks permission to relocate to New York state so that she and Daughter can live more cheaply with family members.
Husband opposes the relocation, citing the increased risk to him posed by the relationship between Wife’s family members and the mob family who is out to get him.
But the Court sees the economic logic of the relocation and allows it, doubting that Husband is at any greater risk with Wife living in New York than Boca / Delray.
Read more in this Palm Beach Post article: Mob ties complicate Palm Beach County divorce for dad in witness protection program.
Just a year and a half ago, police contacted an Arizona family to warn them that their minor Daughter’s Boyfriend had threatened to end her life and then commit suicide himself.
Quite reasonably, the family immediately applied for a domestic violence restraining order or order of protection against the Boyfriend.
But Arizona law did not allow for injunctions for protection against domestic violence by someone who was only a dating partner without cohabitation or common children.
Less than a week later, true to his word, the Boyfriend had killed the Daughter and himself.
Due to Daughter’s story, Arizona has since instituted domestic violence restraining orders against a casual dating partner.
And just one death threat can earn an aggressor an injunction for protection against domestic violence.
The Arizona law seemingly makes it easier to get an order of protection there than here in Florida.
Each day, at least three women and one man are killed by domestic violence, according to the Domestic Violence Resource Center.
Read more in this [Phoenix] College Times article: New Arizona law aims to curb dating violence.
Although they may not have much else in common, women get the financial shaft worldwide in divorce according to studies by the United Nations (UN).
The UN has a Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). A UN committee is reviewing its provisions regarding divorce as it impacts women economically.
In many countries, women are not legally allowed to accumulate property of their own and they don’t receive an equal share of marital property when they divorce.
As a result, divorce typically affects men very little from an economic standpoint, but women typically suffer significant loss of income and standard of living.
That is why the UN Committee plans to make recommendations intended to encourage alleviating the situation.
Although the recommendations will not be enforceable, it is hoped they will create a moral imperative.
In the US, where women are equal before the law, statistically, women often pursue uncontested divorces and waive valuable legal rights to escape domestic abuse, including economic abuse in the form of expensive litigation.
Read more in this Women’s eNews article: U.N. Tackles Universal Problem for Women: Divorce.
Child support disputes can erupt in the most unexpected places.
Take two members of the Broward County judiciary.
Divorced from each other for fifteen years.
He has presided over many child support enforcement matters as a general magistrate and, well … he doesn’t go easy on deadbeat parents.
She is a criminal court judge presiding over misdemeanors.
Their children are actually both legal adults now.
Under Florida law, parents are not required to contribute to their children’s support beyond the age of eighteen unless the children are still in high school.
She alleges that both parents agreed to share the children’s expenses while they are in college.
He denies that this is properly termed “child support” – and further disputes her calculations.
The chief judge has spoken to both parties but is taking no action pending the outcome.
The case will be heard here in Palm Beach County.
It doesn’t sound like they thought mediation was worth a try, if only to avoid the publicity …
Read more in this South Florida Sun Sentinel article: Broward judge sued by ex-wife who claims he’s not paying his share of their kids’ expenses and this Miami WTVJ NBC TV 6 article: Child Support Judge Sued for Not Supporting His Kids.