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Some men misuse domestic violence laws for upper hand in divorce

Domestic violence laws exist in order to protect people from being abused by their loved ones. As strange as it may sound, some men turn domestic violence laws upside down in order to get the upper hand when divorcing their wives.

A new book details the scam, in which men will set up a scene of domestic violence to make it appear that the woman was the abuser. Sometimes the women are arrested, and their violent record can be used against them in divorce court.

Sometimes after a domestic dispute in which the man abuses his wife, either he or she will make the 911 phone call. When the police arrive, the wife is upset because of what's just happened, while the husband turns a switch and is perfectly calm and composed. He may paint her as unstable or delusional, and sometimes officers will believe him.

Sometimes both the husband and wife are arrested, and depending whether officers believe the husband's story, sometimes they will arrest only her. In this situation, the victim is painted as the abuser, and there's not much she can do about it.

Deion Sanders and his ex-wife recently made headlines in Texas when she was arrested on domestic violence charges. He claimed that she broke into his room and attacked him in front of their children. She says the alleged events are a "complete setup." He was later cited for misdemeanor assault for the alleged incident.

It's hard to know what really happened. That can be the problem in cases like this: If authorities don't know who to believe, the real abuser might not pay the consequences.

Source: Forbes, "How some men are upending domestic violence laws to scam an advantage in divorce," Jeff Landers, May 22, 2012

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