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As a family law attorney with offices in Duval and Clay Counties, I’ve experienced some extraordinarily contentious divorce proceedings and child custody battles. When the stakes are high, it’s not unusual for one or both of the involved parties to take desperate—even illegal—measures to bolster their case.
Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, and Their Effect on Divorce and Custody
The state of Florida takes a firm stance against crimes like domestic battery, child abuse, and child neglect, and even unsubstantiated allegations can affect the outcome of a divorce or child custody hearing. Many parents and spouses who are aware of this fact will try to rebalance the equation in their favor by falsely accusing the other party of a criminal act. In some cases, they might even be successful in having their spouse or the other parent arrested. Law enforcement officers in Duval, Clay, Nassau and Saint Johns Counties are aware that family members will often try to manipulate the criminal justice system against one another. However, police officers aren’t always able to exercise discretion in domestic matters. Even if the officer doesn’t have probable cause to make a domestic battery or child abuse arrest, he or she is required by law to complete a police report, which can be used to sway perception by the alleged victim’s lawyer.
Protecting Your Family Law Case in the Face of Criminal Allegations
If you’ve been accused of a crime like domestic battery or child neglect, you need to take the matter seriously and retain the services of a reputable criminal defense attorney. If you are going though a divorce, child custody battle, domestic violence injunction, or time-sharing negotiations, however, it’s vital that you also include your family law attorney in the discussion about your criminal defense. Accepting a negotiated plea from a state attorney may make sense with respect to your continued liberty, but any acknowledgment of a crime—even to a lesser charge—can do irreparable damage to your family law case. In the end, you may still have to follow your criminal lawyer’s advice to stay out of jail, but your family law attorney can assist you in mitigating the damage to your divorce or child custody case.