Saturday, July 25, 2009
We often hear of abusers being charged with battery and other crimes but what about when the victim stands accused. Domestic violence survivors frequently find themselves in the position of being charged with crimes as well when they don’t know how to legally as well as physically protect themselves. The most common charges result when the abuser has finger nail marks on his neck, chest or hands from the woman trying to push him away or kick marks on the legs. His clothes may be torn in the struggle or weapons may have come into play. Often both parties have some injuries and both are taken to jail.
In the best case scenario, the survivor should not engage and should go to a shelter, friend or relative’s house. If she cannot leave, she should call 911. Self defense is much harder to prove in domestic violence cases because the pattern of abuse leading up to the incident has usually gone unreported and there are no witnesses. Also use caution because violent acts committed in the presence of children can lead to additional charges such as child endangerment or cruelty to children.
It is important to develop potential witnesses when you are ready to leave. All injuries should be reported to your doctor even it if you are hesitant to report the violence to the authorities. Speak with trustworthy neighbors, religious leaders or seek a consultation with an attorney. Keep a journal of threats and incidents.
If you are arrested for violence, do not attempt to explain what happened to the arresting officers. Remember your right to remain silent and wait for your attorney. Although you may be telling the truth and just being honest to clear up matters, anything you say can be misconstrued and used against you in court.
Paige N. Jennings, PC
Family Law Attorney
Friday, July 24, 2009
The most important thing to remember is that you should not divorce alone. No one can know everything she or he needs to know to divorce. That's why I always recommend using a team approach.
Your attorney knows the legal aspects of divorcing, how to negotiate, the judges, the other attorneys, the process, and the traditional ebb and flow.
For the financial aspect of the divorce, however, consider consulting with a CPA, Financial Planner, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, or Financial Advisor. These are number savvy folks who usually cost much less per hour than your attorney, and who know so much more about the money.
If you are concerned about the equity in your home or your credit talk to a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers have their fingers on the pulse of borrowed money.
If you are concerned about health insurance, and who isn't these days, consult with an insurance broker. Don't make the mistake of relying on COBRA unless you have no choice. If you would like to insure alimony or child support an insurance broker can give good advice about who should own the policies
ALWAYS have a therapist or pastoral counselor to help you process your emotions. Never let you emotions cloud the business of the divorce. Having a therapist prevents you from subconsciously seeking emotional support from your expensive attorney or financial advisor.
You don't have to know it all, but you do need to know what you don't know - before it's too late. Be the CEO of your divorce.