If you search hard enough (actually, one of the first groups of links when you search) you’ll find several blogs and instruction sites on how to kick your spouse out and gain leverage in a divorce case. One common thread is if all else fails, is file a PFA (Protection From Abuse) or child abuse claim. While domestic violence cases can be legitimate, the standard of evidence is entirely too low. The elected officials and attorneys who created this low standard then abuse it to the point of teaching other attorneys how to profit from this low bar. It has gotten so out of control that in Williamson County, Texas, the Assistant District Attorney Leslie Levy, held a seminar to teach other family law attorneys on how to employ PFAs to gain an advantage for their clients in a divorce case. We won’t quote the whole video, but here are some memorable quotes:
Asst. DA: We got this guy kicked out from his house because it was too close to her house. The constable called and said: “You realize the result of this is that he has to leave his house?”
Asst. DA: Yes we do. It’s up to him if he wants to violate that protective order or not.
The purpose of this seminar was to shift the case load from her office directly to the attorneys, since doing the PFA as a part of their case does not put the burden on the DA’s office, which then does not have to be the ones to prosecute. As so many of these attorneys utilize it as a negotiating tool and not as actual protection from abuse, the office is overloaded with prosecuting the cases, which are often rubber stamped by judges. She spends 38 minutes selling the group of attorneys on why doing the PFA is advantageous in divorce and how to file them in a way that requires the least evidence, as well as the technicalities in some of the more easier to stick charges. As in one of our other articles, we acknowledge that domestic violence is real, and something does need to exist for it. But putting in place laws that can be applied with no evidence, destroys families and children. That is not how to do it.
Asst. DA: Who here has filed a divorce and filed a protective order as a part of it? [mostly all hands go up] I love that! …so I would encourage you very strongly if you have one of those cases to do the protective order as part of your case. It gives you more leverage in negotiating a settlement.
Asst DA: My point is that it often will help your case to do it. You’ll get evidence that will be just as applicable in the divorce, it’ll leverage onto your divorce, you can file it into the divorce.
At minute 32 Attorney Levy comments how judges hate to rule on cases involving children when there is no evidence of harm to the child or against the parent. Her solution? File it with the divorce. And why is that? Minute 38, because they feel they are using criminal courts to get a divorce. And in divorce cases, you do not need evidence–just a reasonable fear.
Asst. DA: If you file it into your divorce and do it as a part of a temporary order, that concern goes away…and its not in the code but a preference…so if you file it into yours you can get a better outcome, a better settlement…it will help your case in the long run…I am happy to send you all the forms we use.