Recently in Domestic Violence Category

November 13, 2013

More Things to Never Say to Your Divorce Attorney

1. "I brought my 'friend' with me to the interview."

You and I have an attorney client privilege. But once you bring in a third party, whether it's a friend, a lover or whoever, the benefit of the attorney client privilege is gone. Unless that third party is named in the case or otherwise officially associated with the case, there is no attorney client privilege.. If a friend or a lover is in a meeting with attorney and the case goes sour, in the event of a trial or deposition, there is no privilege and all those secrets can spill out in a deposition or in court.

2. "I am so depressed over this."

If you need to cry on someone's shoulder, don't use your attorney's. He or she is billing you by the hour, and while they may sympathize with your problems, they have to bill you for the time you spend with them commiserating on the telephone or in person. If you tell all your troubles to your attorney, you'll really be crying when you see the bill.

3. I know he or she is cheating on me because I've been following him/her everywhere.

If you say this to your attorney, one of the things you might be saying to your attorney in the near future is "get me out of jail."

4. I just got into an altercation with my spouse and the police arrested me.

When going through a divorce, keep things civil. While things may have been stormy right before you decided on a divorce, now is the time to be on your very best behavior.

April 30, 2012

Harassment During Divorce

harassment.jpgAs an experienced Jacksonville Beach Divorce Lawyer, I often see couples at their worst. Many times, when a relationship is breaking up, the civility between the parties is also lost, and the harassing begins. This harassment can go from simply bothersome to criminal.

Florida law requires that if you feel that you are becoming the victim of harassment, you must first put the offender on notice to stop calling you or your family members or to cease the harassing act. You should keep a log of each call with the time, date, and number from where the call came and from whom. If the offender continues to harass you after being placed on notice to stop, then the act becomes criminal and you may seek the protection of the police or the Office of the State Attorney.

Also harassment may rise to the level of domestic violence if the harassment includes a threat or threats of violence. If physical threats have been made and there is a history of domestic violence an injunction (aka restraining order) may be an option.

It is important to have a Jacksonville Beach Divorce Lawyer on your side to help you address the issue and to file the appropriate documents in your divorce. Taking these steps can help stop the harassment while the divorce process is pending.

April 8, 2012

Child Abuse & Neglect in Family law

child abuse.jpgAs a Jacksonville Child Custody Attorney, I often see cases involving child abuse and child neglect. I run into these issues primarily in cases involving termination of parental rights or simply child custody disputes.

Florida defines abuse as "any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual injury or harm that causes or is likely to cause the child's physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired. Abuse of a child includes acts or omissions. Corporal discipline of a child by a parent or legal custodian for disciplinary purposes does not in itself constitute abuse when it does not result in harm to the child.

Neglect, on the other hand, "occurs when a child is deprived of, or is allowed to be deprived of, necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment or a child is permitted to live in an environment when such deprivation or environment causes the child's physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired or to be in danger of being significantly impaired. The foregoing circumstances shall not be considered neglect if caused primarily by financial inability unless actual services for relief have been offered to and rejected by such person. A parent or legal custodian legitimately practicing religious beliefs in accordance with a recognized church or religious organization who thereby does not provide specific medical treatment for a child may not, for that reason alone, be considered a negligent parent or legal custodian; however, such an exception does not preclude a court from ordering the following services to be provided, when the health of the child so requires:"

(a) Medical services from a licensed physician, dentist, optometrist, podiatric physician, or other qualified health care provider; or
(b) Treatment by a duly accredited practitioner who relies solely on spiritual means for healing in accordance with the tenets and practices of a well-recognized church or religious organization.

When I run into cases involving allegations of child abuse I always tell my clients of the importance of reporting such abuse. Florida Statute § 39.201 defines when it is required to report child abuse, abandonment, or neglect.

To learn more about what Florida considers as child abuse and what you are required by law to do if you're aware of incidents of child abuse contact a Jacksonville Child Custody Attorney but if you ever find that you are being accused of these crimes or suspect that you will be charged, you should contact a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible to help prepare your statements and/or defend yourself. Sometimes we see charges like this that result from actions, which are intended to change the child custody situation and may not be based on events that actually happened or can be substantiated.

April 3, 2012

Oettmeier v. Oettmeier (Domestic Violence)

dv.jpgDomestic violence is a serious issue, and you should speak with the proper authorities as well as an Orange Park Domestic Violence Attorney if you have been a victim. But you may need to go a step further and have the court grant a protective order or an injunction preventing the other person from contacting you. This allows the police to arrest the person if he or she violates certain provisions of the court order. If he or she is arrested they could be looking at misdemeanor criminal charges placed against them.

However, what exactly does Florida law define domestic violence as in order to get an injunction?

"Domestic violence" means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.

Now that you know the definition of domestic violence, you need to know what standard do you need to meet in court.

The case of Oettmeier v. Oettmeier, 960 So. 2d 902, (Fla. §2d DCA 2007), speaks directly on this topic. In this case the wife sought a domestic violence injunction against her husband. Said injunction was granted by the Circuit Court. The husband appealed and the Second District Court of Appeals held that competent, substantial evidence did not support the finding that the wife had an "objectively reasonable fear of imminent domestic violence". The case holds that if fear alone is the "reasonable cause" alleged to support the injunction, then not only must the danger feared be imminent but the rational for the fear must be objectively reasonable as well; absent this objective reasonableness, the Petitioner's belief is unsubstantiated speculation that does not support the entry of an injunction.

If you're seeking to obtain an injunction contact an Orange Park Domestic Violence Attorney today to schedule a free consultation. Night and weekend appointments available.

Serving the areas of Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, and St. Augustine.

April 2, 2012

Bill inspired by Crystal Harris Gaining Traction in California.

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.

Serving the areas of Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, Ponte Vedra, Ponte Vedra Beach and St. Augustine.

April 1, 2012

Domestic Violence And Gun Rights

gun.jpgAs a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney I have worked on numerous domestic violence injunction cases. Through my work on these cases I have come to understand there are many ramifications stemming from injunctions for domestic violence that people are simply and completely unaware of.

Specifically, not even one of my past clients was aware of the effect domestic violence injunctions had on their gun rights. None of these clients had ever heard of the Lautenberg Amendment. Well, I'm going to take this opportunity to give a very brief rundown on this very topic.

The Lautenberg Amendment, which is often referred to as the Domestic Violence Amendment to the Gun Control Act, is codified at 18 U.S. Code §922(g)(9). In summary this act bans the ownership and use of firearms or ammunition by individuals convicted of a misdemeanor where the underlying charge is that of domestic violence, or who are under an injunction for domestic abuse. This act also makes in unlawful to knowingly sell or give a firearm or ammunition to such persons.

However, there may be a way around violating the the Gun Control Act via a "Gun Trust". A "Gun Trust" can purchase and hold title to guns, whereas, an individual with a current restraining order against them cannot. Contact a Jacksonville Gun Trust Lawyer for more information.

If you have recently been served with a temporary injunction contact a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney today to schedule a free consultation. If, on the other hand, you've been charged with misdemeanor domestic battery contact a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney today to discuss all your possible defenses.

March 9, 2012

Domestic Violence and Divorce

green beer.jpgAs a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer, I am well versed in the issues of Domestic Violence and its effects on Jacksonville families. Domestic Violence seems to pop up in nearly 50% of my cases; whether the case be one of divorce, paternity, termination of parental rights or modification. The possibility of domestic violence being an issue is always on my mind.

I can't help but wonder with St. Patrick's Day coming up and the large amount of beer flowing, would Jacksonville domestic violence and or alcohol related crime rates experience an increase. With this question on my mind I decided to look into the relationship between alcohol and domestic violence.I stumbled upon the Stop Violence Against Women website and read a page titled, "Myths About Alcohol and Domestic Violence."

The page read, "The relationship between alcohol or other substance abuse and domestic violence is complicated. A prevailing myth about domestic violence is that alcohol and drugs are the major causes of domestic abuse. In reality, some abusers rely on substance use (and abuse) as an excuse for becoming violent. Alcohol allows the abuser to justify his abusive behavior as a result of the alcohol. While an abuser's use of alcohol may have an effect on the severity of the abuse or the ease with which the abuser can justify his actions, an abuser does not become violent "because" drinking causes him to lose control of his temper."

I also stumbled upon some figures which do suggest that there is a correlation between alcohol abuse and domestic violence. For example, researchers have found that one fourth to on half of men who commit acts of domestic violence also have substance abuse problems. Also, the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse found that as many as 80 percent of child abuse cases are associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs.

If over the upcoming St. Patty's Day festivities or any time you become a victim of domestic violence contact a knowledgable Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer or a Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer. Also, should you be charged with an alcohol related crime contact a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer.

January 11, 2012

Did you Loose your Gun Rights because of an Injunction?

woman gun.jpgJacksonville has long been regarded as the most violent city in Florida, even beating out Miami. In 2010, Duval County had a total of 7,798 domestic violence offenses. Thus, it is not surprising that New4Jax.com is reporting that more women are choosing to arm them selves for self defense purposes.

News4Jax's January 4th article titled, "More Women Packing Heat," states that, "there are between 15 and 20 million ladies packing heat these days and target shooting is one of the fastest-growing female sports." Also, gun expert Bill Martin has had such a large demand from women he has had to create all-female concealed weapon permit classes.

It looks as though more and more women are taking precautions to defend themselves from a potential attack.

If you are in fear for your safety and are considering filing an injunction for protection against domestic violence or are generally interested in your firearm rights contact a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer today.

January 9, 2012

Mother Uses Baby As Shield When Attacked By Boyfriend

WILKES, DEVIN JUAN.jpgYou think you have heard it all and then you read an article titled, "Jacksonville Police: Mom Used Baby As Shield When Boyfriend Attacked Her." How could this be? Well, allegedly, on December 9, 2011, Devin Juan Wilkes and his girlfriend and mother of his child, Sheena Hunter, got into an argument over their relationship. The argument quickly became violent.

Reportedly, to protect herself from being beaten and stabbed Hunter grabbed their son and held him between herself and Wilkes. Wilkes then grabbed their son and threw him face first on the ground. The violence ensued with Wilkes choking Hunter and then fleeing with her car.

On January 2, 2012, authorities went to the residence, Hunter answered the door and informed the authorities she had not seen Wilkes since the alleged incident. However, after allowing the authorities in to search her residence, Wilkes was quickly located hiding in a closet. Wilkes was arrested and has been charged with numerous crimes including; aggravated assault, domestic battery and child abuse.

As a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney I see numerous legal issues with this case including termination of parental rights and domestic violence.

If you are concerned that a parent is abusing a child or a spouse or partner contact a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney to schedule a free consultation.

January 6, 2012

Wife shoots Husband - Domestic Violence and Divorce

Virginia-Ann-Thunberg.jpgOn January 3rd News4Jax.com reported that an Orange Park woman shot her husband and mother-in-law during what authorities believe was a domestic argument regarding a possible divorce.

Virginia Ann Thunberg is now facing criminal charges in the shootings of her husband, Wayne Thunberg, and her mother-in-law, Virginia Petri. Allegedly, Thunberg shot her husband and mother-in-law once each. Luckily, both victims were able to walk out of the home and receive immediate medical attention. Both victims are expected to be ok.

Sadly, five children between the ages of 3 and 15, all of whom belong to Thunberg, are believed to have been in the home during the shooting.

Divorce can be a very emotional and tumultuous time; however, it should never lead to violence, especially to this magnitude.

If you are considering divorce and are fearful of how your spouse may react, contact an Jacksonville Divorce Attorney today.

January 2, 2012

Domestic Violence and Gun Rights

gun ban.jpgAs a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney I have worked on numerous domestic violence injunction cases. Through my work on these cases I have come to understand there are many ramifications stemming from injunctions for domestic violence that people are simply and completely unaware of.

Specifically, not even one of my past clients was aware of the effect domestic violence injunctions had on their gun rights. None of these clients had ever heard of the Lautenberg Amendment. Well, I'm going to take this opportunity to give a very brief rundown on this very topic.

The Lautenberg Amendment, which is often referred to as the Domestic Violence Amendment to the Gun Control Act, is codified at 18 U.S. Code §922(g)(9). In summary this act bans the ownership and use of firearms or ammunition by individuals convicted of a misdemeanor where the underlying charge is that of domestic violence, or who are under an injunction for domestic abuse. This act also makes in unlawful to knowingly sell or give a firearm or ammunition to such persons.

However, there may be a way around violating the the Gun Control Act via a "Gun Trust". A "Gun Trust" can purchase and hold title to guns, whereas, an individual with a current restraining order against them cannot. Contact a Jacksonville Gun Trust Lawyer for more information.

If you have recently been served with a temporary injunction contact a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney today to schedule a free consultation. If, on the other hand, you've been charged with misdemeanor domestic battery contact a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney today to discuss all your possible defenses.

December 23, 2011

Unemployment and Domestic Violence

dv ribbon.jpgIt is pretty well known that the recession hurts people in their wallets, but what about their relationships? In an article titled, "Marriage Economy, I Couldn't Afford To Get Divorced," on www.npr.org, the author discusses unemployment and it's effects on domestic violence.

Specifically, the article states, "Philip Cohen, as sociologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says that multiple studies have found that the marital distress that comes from money problems and feeling trapped is strongly associated with an increased risk of domestic violence." "One study, for example, looked at women who showed up in hospital emergency rooms for injuries that were both intentional and non-intentional." "When you compare the women who were injured intentionally and women who were treated for other conditions in the emergency departments, they found that those who were injured intentionally were more likely to have experienced recent unemployment in their families."

As a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer I often see the correlation between money troubles and domestic violence. If you find yourself or someone you know in the unfortunate position of being a victim of domestic violence contact a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer today to schedule a free consultation.

November 25, 2011

Domestic Violence: The Lautenberg Amendment

gun ammo.jpgIn 1996 the 104th United States Congress enacted an act commonly referred to as the Lautenberg Amendment. The Lautenberg Amendment bans shipment, transport, ownership and use of guns or ammunition by individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, or who are under a restraining order (injunction) for domestic abuse.

As a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer, I see, all too often, individuals going into injunction court unrepresented because they feel as though an injunction is not a "big deal." These individuals usually consent to having an injunction placed against them or unsuccessfully argue to a Judge why placement of an injunction would be improper. These individuals do not consider the potentially serious ramifications.

Because of the Lautenberg Amendment if an individual is under a current injunction and is found to possess a firearm or ammunition they can be charged with a federal offense. Further, because of the Lautenberg Amendment, any individual who has been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge can no longer own a firearm or ammunition. Certain exceptions may apply, such as; if the conviction has been expunged, set aside, pardoned or the individual has had their gun rights restored.

It is imperative that individuals served with a petition for injunction or charged with misdemeanor domestic violence know their rights prior to accepting any plea deal. Contact a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer or Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer for more information.

November 23, 2011

Domestic Violence Injunctions & Gun Rights

gun ban.jpgDomestic violence is a serious issue, and you should speak with the proper authorities if you have been a victim. But you may need to go a step further and have the court grant a protective order or an injunction preventing the other person from contacting you. This allows the police to arrest the person if he or she violates certain provisions of the court order.

These court orders have more implications than many people realize, and they can be very costly for those who need to use a firearm in their work. In fact, current federal law prevents the ownership of guns or ammunition by individuals who are under a restraining order for domestic abuse.

Further, the act makes it illegal to knowingly sell or give a gun or ammunition to people under a restraining order for domestic violence. So, if you own a gun or ammunition but have a protective order filed against you, you are likely in possession of that gun illegally.

If you have had a restraining order or protective order filed against you, contact a Florida Family Law Attorney. You should not go into court alone; a Florida Family Law Attorney can help protect your rights.

November 15, 2011

What is a Restraining Order

Thumbnail image for Judge Adams.jpgA few days ago I wrote about the Texas Family Law Judge, William Adams, being caught on video beating his daughter. The video showed Judge Adams beating his then 16 year-old daughter, Hilary Adams with a belt. The video has caught the attention of news agencies across the country and has outrage the public at large.

Since the video has been released Judge Adams has been served with a restraining order that temporarily terminates his visitation with his younger daughter. Judge Adam's, ex-wife, Hallie Adams is reported to fear that her daughter is not safe spending time with Judge Adams right now.

A hearing has been scheduled for November 21st to determine whether Judge Adam's visitation with his younger daughter should continue to be denied or should be supervised by a third party.

This story is just one example of the unfortunate reality of child abuse. I see cases similar to this on a regular basis in the Jacksonville and surrounding area. It is important to know that there are legal avenues to prevent abuse like this from continuing.

Should you be in a similar situation as Hallie Adams, contact a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer today to discuss what you can do to secure a restraining order against your spouse, ex-spouse or co-parent.