Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How are military divorces different from a regular divorce?”

It’s been a rough few weeks for a relatively obscure member of Mississippi’s legislature. Andy Gipson was, until earlier this month, seldom on the national news radar. That changed as the state legislature has taken steps to try and address severely antiquated laws surrounding the divorce process. Two different legislators put forward two different measures to try and reform the backwards laws and both were killed before making it to the full chamber by Gipson. His actions resulted in a swift response from critics, with reports indicating that Gipson was deluged in phone calls, emails and social media posts by those who disagreed with his tactics.

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North Carolina State Bar Certified Family Law Specialist Matthew R. Arnold answers the question “How long does getting a divorce take?”

Divorce can be a trying time for a lot of reasons: the emotional pain, worries about your kids, financial stress, etc. Something that many people may not realize, but should pay attention to, is the way that divorce can impact your credit score. When assets are divided during a divorce, most people believe that’s the end of the fight, mistakenly assuming that if the other spouse was ordered to be responsible for a debt then they are free and clear. This is often not the case and can lead to an unsuspecting spouse having a once pristine credit score trashed. To find out more about how divorce can impact your credit score and what to do to prevent that, keep reading.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can any attorney help me with my family law needs in North Carolina?”

 

Edit: The Baltimore Ravens have just released Ray Rice from his contract and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has announced Rice will be suspended indefinitely from the NFL.

 

American National Football League fans were treated to a slew of close victories and upsets on the opening weekend of the 2015 season. The Monday blues followed too close for the league’s comfort on the heels of season openers.

Ray_Rice Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyEarlier this year, video footage obtained by Burbank, California-based “Thirty-Mile Zone,” also known as TMZ, showed Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice dragging his then-fiancé Janay Palmer out of an Atlantic City elevator. News reports referenced a video obtained by police that showed Rice hitting Palmer and knocking her unconscious in the elevator.

That second video was obtained by TMZ and released at 1:00 a.m. Monday morning while sports shows around the country were still broadcasting highlights from Sunday’s round of games.

The incident occurred on Feb. 15 at the Revel Hotel and Casino. Evidently Rice and Palmer argued before entering an elevator carriage. New footage from inside the carriage shows Rice striking Palmer in the face. The blow causes Palmer to fall, striking her head against a handrail and apparently falling unconscious to the floor of the carriage.

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Do I need an attorney to get a Divorce in North Carolina?”

 

A Cleveland, Ohio judge found himself on the other side of the bench after being arrested Saturday for beating his wife.

Courthouse Charlotte Mecklenburg Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyCuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Lance Mason was accused of punching, biting and choking his wife inside a vehicle in Shaker Heights, where Mason is from, according to witnesses. Aisha Mason—Judge Mason’s wife—sustained “serious facial injuries,” including broken facial bones, according to reports. The couple’s children, aged four and six, respectively, were in the vehicle during the beating.

Judge Mason allegedly threw his wife out of their vehicle at the corner of Van Aken Boulevard and Avalon Road. Aisha Mason told emergency dispatchers she feared for the safety of the couples’ children and pleaded with responders to find the children and get them out of harm’s way.

Judge Mason was arrested at his home in Cleveland about twenty minutes after the alleged beating, after his sister called police to report that he was threatening to kill himself with a gun. Judge Mason was charged with felonious assault.

While in custody, Judge Mason admitted to having weapons in his bedroom and attic. Officers searched his home and found some 2,500 rounds of ammunition, a 12-gauge shotgun, a Winchester shotgun, a 50-shell shotgun belt, two semi-automatic rifles, two handguns, a sword, four canisters of smoke grenades and a bulletproof vest.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question ” I’m not getting along with my husband. We’ve been married two weeks and it was a mistake. Can’t I just get an annulment?”

 

Last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down a controversial punishment to Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice. Rice was suspended for two games for his involvement in an altercation with his fiancé (now wife), Janay Palmer. Following this incident, Rice was observed via security camera pulling an unconscious Palmer out of a New Jersey casino elevator. Rice pleaded not guilty to third degree aggravated assault and avoided trial by being accepted into a pretrial intervention program.

Ray_Rice Charlotte Divorce Lawyer North Carolina Family Law AttorneyThere is a growing concern from the public that the NFL is not taking a hard enough line on domestic violence. Roger Goodell’s two game suspension for Rice has been subject to scrutiny around the country from multiple media outlets that have compared this suspension to drug related suspensions that are four games. This scrutiny has gone as far as United States senators Chris Murphy, Tammy Baldwin, and Richard Blumenthal, writing a letter to NFL requesting reconsideration and revision of Rice’s punishment to “more adequately reflect the seriousness of his offense.” The senator’s letter says the NFL’s punishment “reflects a disturbingly lenient, even cavalier attitude towards violence against women.” Goodell has responded to this scrutiny that Rice’s punishment is in line with the NFL’s decisions when previously dealing with similar situations.

Locally, Charlotte has had recent headlines for NFL players and domestic violence. Carolina Panther’s Pro Bowl defensive end, Greg Hardy, was charged last May with communicating threats and assaulting a female after an altercation with his ex-girlfriend. After being convicted on both charges by Mecklenburg County District Court judge Rebecca Thorne Tin, Hardy’s attorney confirmed that his client will be appealing to a jury trial in Superior Court. The Panthers general manager, David Gettleman, has announced that the team will not discipline Hardy until the NFL takes action under the leagues code of conduct policy. Gettleman also said that the league will not do anything until the legal process has played out.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “How long does getting a divorce take?”

 

Carolina Panthers player Greg Hardy has been jailed after police say that he and his girlfriend were involved in a domestic dispute. In this case, both Hardy and his girlfriend claim that the other was the aggressor.

 

Football closeup Charlotte Family Law Lawyer North Carolina Domestic Violence AttorneyDespite, the he-said, she-said claims, a judge in Mecklenburg County ordered a $15,000 bond for Hardy. The judge similarly issued a protective order requiring Hardy to end all contact with 24-year-old Nicole Holder. Yet another requirement of Hardy’s release from jail was that he agree to attend three AA classes each week.

 

The last stipulation arose because both Hardy and Holder were intoxicated at the time of the fight. The argument began early in the morning and culminated when police were called around 4 a.m. Holder says that Hardy threw her into a couch that was covered with assault rifles and other weapons. Later, she says Hardy threw her into the tiled area of his tub, resulting in terrible bruises around her head, neck and shoulders. Holder says she was then drug from the tub by her hair while Hardy yelled that he was going to kill her.

 

Holder then says Hardy left her in the bedroom and began choking her with both hands around her throat. Hardy is then alleged to have told the woman that if she went to the cops or the media and reported what had happened he would kill her.

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Family Law Firm in Charlotte, North Carolina.jpgA recent article on ABCNews.com discussed a study which sought to examine alcohol’s role before and after divorce. The study, presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, looked at 5,300 people over a ten-year period and contained some surprising results.

Lead researcher Corinne Reczek, assistant professor in sociology at the University of Cincinnati, and her team looked at data collected from surveys of a random sample of 5,000 Wisconsin high school graduates of the class of 1957. Researchers conducting the study contacted each of the subjects four times over a 47-year period.

The results showed that men drank less while married than if divorced or single. In fact, men’s alcohol consumption showed a significant dip upon entering into a first marriage. Three quarters of the men who divorced blamed the end of their marriage for an increase in drinking. Unsurprisingly, men drank more during every stage of life than women. The researchers believe spending more time at home and out of the bars causes the post-marriage dip.

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Broken Heart.jpgWomen that have suffered through an abusive relationship face many of the same hurdles than any women do when going through a divorce. The only difference is that each step of the long divorce process is made more difficult by the looming presence of an abusive spouse.

It’s often the case that women in abusive relationships have no access to money, no financial documents, no clue of how much money exists in the accounts or how many accounts there are to begin with. They may not have a credit card or checking account in their own name and may be used to detailing how every penny has been spent. Such controlling relationships present ample opportunities for the husband to squirrel away assets because, after all, questioning isn’t permitted.

If you feel trapped in an abusive relationship, there are steps you can take to begin to secure your finances and prepare for an exit. If it can be done safely, you should consider the following suggestions:

• Get a post office box so you can get your mail safely and securely.

• Open a bank account in your own name and start putting away money. Make sure your paycheck is direct deposited into your account rather than the joint checking.

• Keep copies of your important paperwork, including bank statements, marriage certificates, social security numbers, etc. It’s probably a good idea to have a safe place outside of the home to store such documents.

• Obtain a credit card so you have access to money if you find yourself cut off from your husband.

• Open a new, private email account that you can use to securely communicate with an attorney and other divorce professionals. You can even use a public library to access the account if you’re worried that your home computer is not safe or has malware or key logging software installed.

• Change your PIN’s to a number that your husband won’t easily guess.

• If at all possible, avoid signing any documents handed to you by your husband.

• Finally, and most important, make arrangements with family or friends for you and your children to move out of the house at a safe time.

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Movie Board.jpgMany celebrity marriages are over in the blink of an eye. What can average Joes like us learn from the divorce mistakes of the rich and famous? Plenty. Though we might not have their money or fame, we can still learn lessons from their trials and tribulations:

• Get a prenup
When Mel Gibson divorced he was reported to have divided his $900 million fortune in half. Madonna’s ex, Guy Ritchie, is said to have walked away with an additional $90 million for his time with the singer. Kelsey Grammer, of Frasier fame, had to shell out $50 million to a former Playboy Playmate. Why did they all pay so much? Not because of their generosity, that’s for sure. All these unlucky souls lacked prenuptial agreements. Even if you don’t have their money (or close to it) a prenup can help secure the assets you do have and avoid an arbitrary division by a judge later on.

• Don’t trash your ex in public
Kim Kardashian and the rest of her family have wasted no time trash talking her ex, Kris Humphries since their 72-day marriage ended months ago. All the talking causes the process to drag on longer than necessary and leads to emotions running high along the way. Rather than hurting feelings more than has already happened keep quiet and tell your friends and family to do the same, at least until the papers are signed.

• Follow your child custody agreement
Follow whatever agreements you reached in court. When Alex Baldwin and Kim Basinger split Basinger tried to keep their daughter away from him. This move resulted in a very prolonged and nasty dispute between the two and led to hurt feelings all around. If you don’t hold up your end of the bargain your ex can drag you right back to court, costing you time and money, as well as damaging your relationship with your child, along the way.

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children 5.jpgAccording to a recent report, the parents who gave their three children Nazi monikers have had their children taken away from them by the Department of Youth and Family Services. There appears to be a significant dispute about the basis for having the minor children taken from their parents. These three children each have Nazi style names. In fact, the family gained national attention when they went to the grocery store to get a birthday cake for their son, Adolf Hitler. The clerk at the cake counter apparently would not put the child’s name on the cake and reported the situation to authorities.

The interesting issue here, aside from the unique names of the children, is why were the children taking from their parents in the first place? While most of us would not choose to name our son “Adolf Hilter,” surely, no one wants to live in a society where the government can swoop in and take children away because it does not approve of the names of the children, do they? What if the government were to begin publishing a list of names which are forbidden? Or worse, what if it began publishing a list of acceptable child names?

There appears to be a significant disconnect here with respect to why the children were taken away from their parents. According to one source noted in the article, the children were taken away from their parents because there was evidence of domestic violence in the household. Candidly, this seems rather farfetched to this writer. Even if there were an incident of domestic violence, would that justify the government taking these children away from their parents? Indeed, one might wonder if there are enough foster homes in Mecklenburg County to house all of the children whose parents may have had an incident (isolated or otherwise) of domestic violence. The “domestic violence” angle seems to be a rather weak red herring.

What seems more likely is exactly what the Court of Appeals seems to have found: that there is no legitimate reason why the children were taken away from their parents. Or, more precisely, that the children were taken away from their parents because somebody did not like how these parents chose to name their children. What about these parents’ constitutional right to parent their children? What about these parents’ constitutional right to free speech?

Of course, as we all know, very little is black and white and there probably is no easy answer to this question. As much as it might seem Un-American to take someone’s son away from them for naming him “Adolf Hitler” (how ironic!), there does seem to be a counter argument. Might it be argued by the government that the act of naming a child “Adolf Hitler” is, in and of itself, a form of child abuse? Indeed, one might imagine that this child will suffer years of otherwise unlikely attention and, maybe, ridicule, scorn and taunting. What if little Adolf were to be a big time basketball player? What would the fans chant while he is on the free throw line? We all know how heartless and unthinking children and adolescents can be at times.

While this may be an extreme case, the notion of the government taking children away because they are not given “acceptable” names seems to be a very slippery slope. Who decides if a name is acceptable? By what standards is it determined whether a name is acceptable or not acceptable? Is the government to publish a list of acceptable and unacceptable names? Is a parent to get prior approval before putting a name on the birth certificate?

As a parent, moms and dads have a tremendous amount of responsibility for the wellbeing and development of their child. Decisions which moms and dads make every day have a huge impact on the upbringing and advancement of their children. Such decisions affect whether the child will be a good student, whether they will respect authority and the law, whether they will have a good work ethic. Even decisions as seemingly innocuous as how to have the child’s hair styled or what the child is to eat for dinner are within the parents’ discretion and can have an impact on the child.

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