A couple begins arguing over allegations that the man is cheating on the woman.The fight escalates to physical violence, with the man reportedly head-butting the woman, causing her to require stitches.
The woman subsequently files for divorce.
Indiana divorce lawyers know that this type of scenario is frighteningly common that it would hardly garner any attention at all, were it not for the fact that it involved former NBA star Chad Johnson and his reality star wife, Evelyn Lozada.
The only real difference here is that as far as we know, the violence Johnson reportedly inflicted on his wife occurred only once before she left him. Sadly in most cases, the abuse may stretch on for decades before the victim decides he or she is ready to leave.
During a divorce action, at-risk spouses must be particularly careful. In fact, intimate partner homicides are twice as likely to occur during a separation or divorce than at any other time. That’s why it is critical if you have been a victim of domestic violence prior to filing — or if you suspect your partner may be capable of violence — that you discretely consult with an attorney who has experience in handling similar cases. An experienced attorney will understand the type of plan that must be formulated in order to ensure your protection – and it does require planning.
Unfortunately, oftentimes the spouse who is being left can not accept that it’s actually over. Johnson may be a perfect example. Following his wife’s filing, he proceeded to get a large tattoo of her face on his leg. When asked if they were getting back together, he publicly stated he did not care what she had filed, the pair would remain married. He has also refused to sign divorce papers. She, meanwhile, maintains that she is moving forward with the proceeding in order to protect herself.
While this case illustrates that no one is immune from domestic violence, it’s true that Lozada may have resources that most abused spouses do not. This is where the careful planning comes in.
Here are some general steps that need to be taken:
Meet with a family law attorney who is experienced in situations with domestic violence. We can assist you in determining the safest way to leave. We can offer discrete consultations about what your options are, what documents and other items you need to gather (if you can do so safely), how you can protect your children, where you can seek shelter and whether law enforcement should be involved. Some of the things you will likely need to have before you go include: Important documents (license, passport, health insurance card, green card, house deed, etc.), medications, money and/or checkbooks and/or credit cards, clothing and jewelry and copies of unpaid bills.
Your family law attorney can also help you file for a temporary civil restraining order. It’s true that a piece of paper may not keep someone away if he or she is determined, but it does give you some legal recourse and protection.
Locate a woman’s shelter and social-service resources for abused spouses and children. Your attorney can help you with this as well.
Talk to your employer and your children’s school administrators about your situation so you can avoid any inadvertent disclosure of your location or any other information.
Get a cell phone to which your ex will not have the number and give it out only to a very select few people you know and trust.
Indiana Family Law Attorney Burton A. Padove handles divorce and child custody matters throughout northern Indiana, including Gary, Hammond and Calumet City. Call Toll Free 877-446-5294.
Chad Johnson unveils new tat of estranged wife, By ERIK ORTIZ,The New York Daily News
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