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Steve W. Marsee, P.A. - Attorney At Law
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Divorce Results in Man Living in the Yard of his Million Dollar Home

An elderly Florida man has been forced to camp out in the yard of his waterfront home after a dispute with his wife, according to a recent Tampa Bay Sarasota Channel 10 news report. Sharafat Khan, who is 69 years old, has supposedly not been living inside his upscale home but on its front lawn since March when his doctor-wife kicked him out with just the clothes on his back. Apparently the dispute was so heated that the wife placed a sign outside of the home asking neighbors not to feed Khan.

The reason behind the marital dispute? Domestic violence, according to the report. The difficulties go back to 2008 when Khan was allegedly arrested and a protective order was issued in 2014. Furthermore, multiple restraining orders have been requested by his wife and the divorce (which she filed in June) is still pending a final judgment.

Spousal Abuse & Divorce

From a strict legal perspective, domestic violence does not have any effect on a Florida divorce because Florida is a no-fault divorce state. This means that when a spouse seeks a divorce in a Florida court, he or she simply needs to establish that the couple has irreconcilable differences to the point where the marriage is “irretrievably broken”. Beyond this simple requirement, current state law requires that at least one of the parties involved in the divorce petition must be a Florida resident for at least six months.

Furthermore, Florida law treats spouses as equals during a divorce, however, if domestic violence is established by one of the parties the abused spouse is likely to receive more alimony, child support and custody privileges. Generally, the abused spouse will also be given exclusive use and possession of the marital home in addition to other relief. For instance, abused spouses can request a restraining order from a court against his or her abuser. If successful, it is not uncommon for the petition to be heard by a judge within hours of filing. If the order is issued prior to an accused spouse receives the notification of the divorce filing, the accused could be removed from the home before even knowing about the divorce.

As previously mentioned, current law requires a six-month residency in order for a spouse to seek divorce, however, state legislators are pushing to waive this for individuals who are victims of domestic violence. Moreover, the person requesting the divorce and asserting spousal abuse can claim emotional abuse or allege failure to pay child support or spousal support.

The proposed bill defines “domestic violence” as any of the following: battery/aggravated battery, assault/aggravated assault, sexual assault/battery, stalking/aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment or any other act that causes bodily injury or death to a family member by another member of the family. The bill defines “emotional abuse” as any of the following: bullying, yelling, insulting, intimidating, humiliating, shaming, blaming, isolating or controlling/withholding money.

Orlando Divorce Attorney

If you or someone you know has been the victim of domestic violence or abuse by a partner or a spouse, it is imperative that you report this to the authorities immediately. The most important focus should be your safety. Beyond this, contact a seasoned Orlando divorce attorney who can explain your rights and obligations under Florida law. Do not try to go through this alone. Family law attorney Steve Marsee has been serving the families in the greater Orlando area for decades with legal advice. Call 407-521-7171 today for your initial case evaluation.

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