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Does domestic abuse affect a family law case?

This month, actor Johnny Depp was accused of abuse by his estranged wife, Amber Heard. Heard was successful in obtaining a temporary restraining order against Depp on May 27 after testifying that Depp struck her in the face with her cellphone during a fight six days before.

She has stated that Depp committed abuse against her numerous times throughout their marriage.

But as in most cases involving domestic abuse allegations, Depp tells a different story. Depp's attorney claims that Heard's allegations are untrue and that she is using the claims in effort to obtain her request for $50,000 in monthly alimony payments, which she has asked for as part of the divorce.

The estranged couple will next appear in court on June 17 for a hearing in their case. Both parties may be asked to testify under oath, so it is possible that one or both parties may alter their stories.

How domestic abuse charges affect a Texas divorce

Because Texas and most other states recognize no-fault divorce, a spouse asking for a divorce does not need to provide the court with a reason such as abuse to terminate the marriage. However, abuse allegations can still affect a divorce in several ways, including:

Protective order: A spouse who has been abused can ask the court for a protective order that requires the abusive spouse to stay a certain distance away from the abuse victim. This can result in the abuser being essentially kicked out of the marital home.

Division of assets: In Texas, an abuse victim can ask the court for a greater share of the community property that is divided up during the divorce based on the abuse.

Spousal maintenance: In the state of Texas, family violence may qualify as grounds for ordering spousal maintenance in favor of the victim.

Child custody: Abuse allegations can greatly affect child custody matters that are part of a divorce. As we discussed in a previous post, If the court finds evidence of domestic abuse, the parent who committed the abuse can lose custody rights.

As you can see, domestic abuse allegations can affect a family law case in numerous ways. For that reason, it's extremely important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can make sure that the court hears your side of the story, whether you have been abused or accused of abuse.

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