If you find yourself in the stressful and likely frightening situation of facing a domestic violence case in some faraway state where you’ve not lived for many years (or never lived at all), you have several options. One option is to ignore the case. This is almost always a terrible choice. While it is true that certain types of judgments from one state cannot reach you in another state, a domestic violence order is possibly much more problematic. Having a domestic violence injunction issued against you, even if it is issued by a court in a state with which you have no contact, can affect your ability to own or possess firearms, your ability to hold certain types of jobs, and potentially your ability to have custody or timesharing with your children, even including your children from other marriages and relationships. Simply ignoring the case will likely do nothing but harm to you. A better option is to retain an experienced Florida domestic violence attorney and litigate your case.
Rabih was a man facing such a case. He, Issrra (his wife), and their three children lived in Ohio until the couple separated, and Issrra and the children moved to Pinellas County. A week and a half after arriving in Florida, the mother filed a request with the court in Pinellas County to enter a domestic violence injunction against the father. Rabih, at that point, faced a problem. He lived in northern Ohio and had lived there for well more than a decade, but he had now been served with court papers regarding a potential domestic violence injunction against him in Florida.
Rabih wisely chose not to ignore his case. He hired Florida counsel, and he won his jurisdiction argument, which meant that Issrra’s case was dismissed. The law gives you the opportunity to argue that a state’s courts do not have personal jurisdiction over you without that appearance and action creating a forfeiture of your jurisdiction argument. In other words, simply hiring a Florida lawyer to go to court and argue that the Florida courts lack personal jurisdiction over you does not amount to your voluntarily submitting to the jurisdiction of Florida.
The only evidence of Rabih’s “ties” to Florida was the fact that his children and his brother resided in the state and that he had vacationed here roughly a half-dozen times over the years. This state’s courts have been clear that this is not enough. Simply visiting or vacationing in the Sunshine State does not create the sort of contact with Florida needed to establish personal jurisdiction. Whether you are visiting the “Happiest Place on Earth” in greater Orlando, soaking up the sand and nightlife in South Beach, or just visiting family or friends in Boca Raton, these types of trips are not enough, even if you come to Florida multiple times a year.
Always take any domestic violence case very seriously. Even if your case was filed in a state with which you have little or no contact, do not ignore the case. Retain skilled counsel and protect yourself. The hardworking South Florida domestic violence attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A. have been helping spouses, partners, and parents navigate the Florida legal system for many years and are here to discuss how we can help you. Contact our attorneys online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.
More blog posts:
How the Rules Related to Jurisdiction Can Affect Your Family Law Case in the Florida Courts, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Nov. 28, 2017
How Questions About Your Residence Can Unravel Your Florida Child Custody Case, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Oct. 26, 2017