You may have heard the story of Crystal Harris, a woman in California who was sexually assaulted by her husband. Ms. Harris pressed charges, and her husband was convicted of sexual assault in part because of a recording that caught the audio of the ordeal.
Spousal rape cases, however, are typically very difficult to prosecute. Ms. Harris’s husband was convicted only of sexual assault; the jury was unable to reach a verdict on two other charges, including spousal rape. The most heartbreaking aspect of Ms. Harris’s story was how the court handled the legal fees: the judge ordered her to pay the husband’s legal bills from the divorce and, even worse, she was forced to pay alimony from their divorce. In other words, she was forced to pay money to the man she had just divorced because of his sexually abusive behavior.
Of course, many people were outraged when they heard about the situation. In California, the family law code currently provides that a judge can consider the criminal conviction in adjusting spousal support, but a spouse convicted of attempted murder will not receiving anything. Lawmakers are trying to change that language to disallow spousal support for any spouse convicted of any violent felony.
The law is gaining support, and it would be a difficult political position for a politician to oppose it. It’s unfortunate that these circumstances can take. Hopefully we never see a situation like this. If you are going through a divorce, contact a Jacksonville Beach Family Law Attorney.
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