Domestic violence is a global disease – but we are not powerless

Recently, I watched a policeman (and several onlookers) stand by as a man dragged a weeping, shoeless woman along the street by her hair. Central Beijing is generally very safe but not, it seems, if your assailant is your husband.

Repeated requests that a policeman help her were ignored; only after I tried to restrain the man myself, and another passerby assisted, did the officer take action. The couple were eventually driven away to the nearest police station. I have been unable to find out what happened to the woman, but it is highly likely they returned home together: victims usually drop charges. That’s not surprising since previous domestic abuse cases suggest that the police response to such cases is woefully inadequate. I’d be shocked if a British policeman simply stood by as his counterpart did in Beijing, but this is not about blaming the Chinese officer. Domestic violence is not a China problem, it is a global disease. And it is not just a matter for law enforcement, but for all of us.

Written by  Tania Branigan. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

The Effect of Family Violence on Spousal Support in Texas

The Texas Family Code states that a person is entitled to receive spousal maintenance if the person can prove that the other spouse was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that constitutes family violence. The act of family violence has to have been committed against the other spouse or a child of the other spouse and the act of family violence has to have been committed during the marriage within than two years before filing for divorce or while the divorce action was pending.
An interesting question was posed regarding this provision of the statute; “Does the act of family violence have to have occurred during the two years preceding the divorce or does the spouse have to have been convicted of or received deferred adjudication for family violence within two years prior to filing for divorce?”

Written by Katie Lewis. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

Teacher Fired Because Her Ex-Husband Is Abusive

(NEWSER) – It’s bad enough that Carie Charlesworth is dealing with an abusive ex-husband—but now she’s also out of a job due to the situation. After a “very bad weekend” involving her ex in January, Charlesworth warned the principal at San Diego’s Holy Trinity School to watch out for him. He did indeed show up in the school parking lot, forcing a lockdown. Charlesworth was immediately put on “indefinite leave,” as were her four kids, who attended the school. Despite the fact that her ex is now in jail, three months later she was fired after 14 years with the Diocese of San Diego, NBC San Diego reports.

The termination letter from the diocese notes that, though school officials “feel deeply” for Charlesworth and are praying for her, her ex has a 22-year history of documented violence and has not been deterred by restraining orders. Out of fear that he may cause problems upon his release from prison (which they note could happen as soon as “next fall”), “we simply cannot allow you to return to work [at Holy Trinity] or, unfortunately, at any other school in the diocese,” the letter states, adding that Charlesworth will continue to be paid through Aug. 9. Charlesworth, who plans to file a lawsuit, says, “That’s why women of domestic violence don’t come forward, because they’re afraid of the way people are going to see them, view them, perceive them, treat them.”

Written by  Evann Gastaldo. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

California Spousal Support and Domestic Violence

We all know California is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. However, you may be surprised that there are certain areas of divorce and family where fault is actually a factor. A domestic violence conviction and its effect on California spousal support is one of those areas.

In a divorce case where a spouse has been convicted of an act of domestic violence against the other spouse within 5 years prior to the dissolution proceeding (typically with a petition for dissolution) being filed or any time after that, there is a “rebuttable presumption” that the convicted spouse should not receive a spousal support award.

Some of you may have said, “wow”.

Wow is right but don’t confuse the word rebuttable with “conclusive.”

Written by B. ROBERT FARZAD. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

Economic Well-Being of US Children Slips

It wasn’t so long ago that David Hutchinson spent a month sleeping under a bridge while his wife and young daughter spent their nights at a domestic violence shelter.

But this wasn’t a case of domestic violence. The couple simply had no choice. There were just no shelters in Phoenix with room for another homeless family, and their top priority was finding a safe place for their daughter.

The family is one of many in the U.S. that have been trying to raise children in the face of joblessness and homelessness. An annual survey released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows the number of children living in poverty increased to 23 percent in 2011, after the recession.

The Southwest has been hit particularly hard. New Mexico, for the first time, has slipped to worst in the nation when it comes to child well-being. More than 30 percent of children in the state were living in poverty in 2011 and nearly two-fifths had parents who lacked secure employment, according to this year’s Kids Count survey.

Written by Susan Montoya Bryan. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

Spouse Abuse: A Disparity of Power

In the midst of the publicity about O.J. Simpson’s arrest and arraignment for the murder of his ex-wife, I’d like to ask the reader to contemplate a different scenario. How would the public have reacted if Nicole Brown Simpson had murdered her ex-husband? After nine calls to the police for incidents of domestic violence, culminating in a beating that hospitalized her but resulted in no jail time or long-term abuse counseling for O.J., what if she had shot him to death the next time he came to her house and became angry or threatening toward her?

Consider the extreme power disparity between the antagonists in this drama. Consider the message communicated by repeated calls to the police which resulted in no effective deterrent. Consider the impact of O.J.’s statement to the police (contained in the 1989 police report) that “This is a family matter. Why do you want to make a big deal of it?”- and the despair engendered by the failure of the legal system to protect her.

Written by Cynthia Grant Bowman. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website