In our immediately preceding blog post, we discussed the sometimes complex interplay between acts of domestic violence and other family law matters. Physical violence and other types of abusive behaviors, for example, can often have a strong bearing on how child custody and visitation arrangements will ultimately be settled.
Family law experts are always looking for strong and reliable indicators that can help identify when domestic violence might escalate and turn deadly. One such indicator is certainly the attempt by one partner to secure a restraining order against the other at some point in their relationship.
To the extent that is a litmus test, it failed badly in Fort Lauderdale last Friday, when, in a judge’s private chambers, a woman’ spouse physically attacked her following a child support and visitation hearing.
The woman — who says her marriage has been marked by violence against her and that she is fearful for her life around her husband — tried to get a restraining order at one time, but was denied.
Authorities should perhaps have seen this coming. After the judge ordered the man to pay support, the man attacked his wife in chambers, fracturing her nose and face, blackening both her eyes and reportedly knocking her unconscious. The victim’s attorney, along with a dozen bailiffs, ultimately managed to subdue the man, but only after he was tasered twice.
The man was charged with felony battery and jailed in lieu of a $1 million bond.
The case is certainly extreme, but not without parallel. Spousal violence often leads to tragic consequences, with the added potential for extreme volatility when other family law issues are at stake.
Persons with questions and concerns related to physical or emotional abuse should contact an attorney with close knowledge of domestic violence issues and proven experience in resolving them as a legal advocate.
Related Resource: ABA Journal, “Lawyer Steps in to Help Woman Attacked During Divorce Hearing in Judge’s Chambers” April 19, 2011