Woman Forced to Pay for Abusive Husband’s Lawyer?

A women recently faced an outrageous legal situation So get this 2016, she was the victim of a violent domestic assault by her husband who attempted to kill her

(audience gasps) Left her with two black eyes, a split lip, and multiple marks around her neck Fast forward, he was sentenced to ten years in prison and she filed for divorce, only to learn she was required to pay for his lawyer (audience protests) So yes, an obscure Kentucky law required her to pay for his lawyer because as an inmate he had no means to hire an attorney himself (audience chatters) You try to kill someone, and then they have to pay for your lawyer? Lawyers have to get paid! Okay but Areva isn't there a way to have a public defender? Why does this woman have to pay? This is the best case for why the me too movement Is so important (audience cheering) because when you get a group of men in a room together running everything you get laws like this, this is why we need more women in state office, in federal office in every office (audience cheering) So what is the law exactly? So the law is the person filing for divorce has to pay the fees and costs for the person they're divorcing

And it doesn't matter if they are the victim of domestic violence like in this case And we know domestic violence often involves women as the victim more so than men So in this case while this women is in the emergency room having her injuries that were perpetrated on her by the ex-husband cared for, he's at the bank cleaning out her bank account He then gets arrested, he's in jail, she tries to get away from him, which is what we tell domestic violence victims to do, which is separate from the abuser And then she gets hit with the cost associated with the divorce

This obscure law then essentially almost forces someone to stay in an abusive relationship Yes Or marriage Yes Because if you file for divorce your stuck paying for the lawyers bills of the spouse who's abusing you It discourages separation, which is what, Judy, as a psychologist we encourage domestic violence victims to get away from their abuser Come forward, take care of business and they're disincentivising people from taking care of business because she's getting cleaned out just to try to create a safe space for herself And this is what happened Yeah, and when we know that, in terms of how many women actually become a victim of some type of physical assault by a partner its 25% according to a study done by National Institute of Justice so this is not a small number, it's one out of four, they're gonna have to be ready to deal with this

And this is another form of abuse for a domestic violence victim because you go to the court seeking help, seeking assistance, and you don't expect to be met with additional barriers, with additional obstacles And in this case the husband is kind of using the system in a way to further victimize her and as you said Travis, this is going to be a disincentive for women to file for divorce and may drive some women back into those abusive relationships Well luckily Kentucky lawmakers did recently file a bill which would require state, the state to pay the legal costs of an abuser in a divorce case similar to this (audience applauding) Which is good, but in her case It's too late It's a little bit too late

I know that the Kentucky Equal Justice Center did help her finalize her divorce but these obscure laws, until a case like this highlights how crazy they are they sometimes don't get the media attention they deserve And we have to give a lot of credit to this woman, because she was willing to make herself the voice and the face of this movement to tell her personal story And to expose her very personal situation with domestic violence Which is dehumanizing in and of itself so, kudos to the woman who had the courage (applause) to come forward And now have a law changed that's going to help thousands of women in Kentucky

So just one quick, in general whoever starts divorce proceedings is liable for the attorneys? It really depends on the state and this was an obscure law in the state of Kentucky but I did find another case where a woman had to pay alimony to her abusive husband who was also incarcerated We don't want to beat up on Kentucky because there are a lot of other states that have these kinds of laws that make it very difficult for women who are the victims of domestic violence to separate from their husbands So hopefully Kentucky will lead the way they'll change their law and other states that have these archaic laws will do the same

Source: Youtube

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