Tuesday, September 5, 2006

The Financial Penalty for Spousal Abuse

Bravo JOANNA GROSSMAN, for a great article and more insight into state law and spousal abuse. I commend New York for considering "other" circumstances.

FindLaw's Writ - Grossman: The Financial Penalty for Spousal Abuse A New York Judge Ups the Ante, By Awarding All Marital Property to the Abuse Victim: "Last week, New York Judge Jacqueline Silbermann sent a strong message to abusive spouses. In the case of DeSilva v. DeSilva, she ruled, in a divorce, that a wife was entitled to one hundred percent of the couple's marital property because her husband had verbally and physically abused her. "

I think it's time for states to re-evaluate what no-fault meand and how it actually impacts a divorce.

When I divorced in Washington State, my husband had begun an affair with my 17 year old daughter (his step daughter). When I went to the police and child protective services in Newport, WA, I was told that she was over 16 and could sleep with anyone she wanted. I filed for divorce and had an attorney that told me I would have to pay my husband maintenance because he was on disability and my income potential was greater. Since my husband and daughter were living together, that amounted to paying them to have sex.

This was so unacceptable to me that I fired that attorney (male) and found a female attorney who said she would not let that happen. So horrible were the circumstances, I could not believe it when I was told I could not even mention the fact in court that my husband and daughter were sleeping and living together and suing me to pay them maintenance. I could not fathom what the states were thinking with “no fault” and “equal distribution!”

My attorney was so good that it worked out and I retained all the marital property, including his retirement (that I had funded), but only because my attorney bended things and found legal loopholes and happened to be smarter than his attorney.

I hope that other states will consider that everything is NOT equal in many cases and that spousal abuse (not necessarily physical) can be egregious. And when egregious, the innocent party should be compensated.

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