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Dallas Family Law Blog

Johnny Depp files defamation lawsuit in response to op-ed

By now, many residents of Texas and elsewhere are familiar with the contentious divorce involving actors Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard. As you may know, when their marriage ended, Ms. Heard accused Mr. Depp of physically abusing her. At the law office of Lisa E. McKnight, P.C., we understand that divorces involving allegations of domestic violence can be especially heartbreaking, contentious and confusing.

The case involving Mr. Depp and Ms. Heard continues to be difficult to follow, as you may also know. People recently reported that Mr. Depp responded to an op-ed piece written by Ms. Heard, in which she claims to be a sexual assault and domestic violence victim without outright naming Mr. Depp, by filing a $50 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife. He claims that he never physically harmed her and that she made false claims of abuse to advance her career and generate positive publicity.

Is joint custody a possibility following divorce?

Getting divorced can understandably be difficult for both you and your future ex-spouse. However, it can also be challenging for the children to cope.

A major question that you might have as you navigate the divorce process with your children is who will get custody of them. In your situation, it may be best if you both can share custody of the children. Let us take a look at how joint custody works in Texas.

What steps can you take to prevent international child abduction?

As a resident of Texas who had a child with someone who comes from another nation, you may have justifiable concerns about what could potentially happen to your shared child after your relationship comes to a close. If the relationship between you and your child’s other parent has become particularly ugly or acrimonious, you may have concerns about your ex moving back to his or her home nation and attempting to take your child along.

There are, however, per the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, several actions you can take now to make it that much harder for your child’s other parent to remove your son or daughter from the United States without your permission. If you have fears about international child abduction, one of the first things you should do is take prompt action, and you may wish to do so by seeking a court order.

What are your options when your ex takes your child overseas?

According to U.S. Census Bureau findings published in LiveAbout, cross-cultural marriages are on the rise. While diversity is never a bad thing, marriages that cross international boundaries can lead to complex and emotionally trying legal issues. One such issue involves child custody. If you live in Texas, and if your ex took your child overseas, you know better than most just how hopeless a situation an international custody dispute can present. While your options may be few, know there are a few steps you can take to increase your odds of regaining custody of your loved one.

First and foremost, hire a family law attorney who has experience in resolving international custody disputes. These types of cases are extremely intricate and require an in-depth knowledge of both U.S. custody laws and international laws. They also require several resources that many domestic custody law firms simply do not possess. The right attorney will employ the appropriate resources to determine in which country your child currently lives and aggressively negotiate to secure the voluntary, safe and prompt return of him or her.

Texas handles property distribution in an equitable manner

The divorce process can no doubt be complicated to navigate from both an emotional and a financial standpoint. This is true whether you have been married for a few years or several decades.

Because any financial decision you make while going through the divorce process in Texas can have long-term implications for you, it is critical that you understand the state's property distribution process. Here is a glimpse at how the Lone Star State handles property division during divorce.

Cheating, divorce and spousal abuse

Marriages fall apart for many different reasons. Sometimes, couples can work with each other to repair the damage that has been done, but many marriages are never able to overcome these hurdles. For example, infidelity and spousal abuse are common reasons for a couple splitting ways. In some instances, these two issues may be connected with each other. For example, someone may be so upset with their spouse's affair that they physically or verbally abuse their partner. Or, someone may decide to cheat on their spouse because they are upset about abuse that they have to endure.

Spousal abuse is a serious problem and, in some cases, it can be life-threatening. If you ever feel that your well-being or the safety of your children is in danger, it is imperative to take steps to protect yourself right away. Sadly, some people have waited until it is too late. There may be a number of avenues available if you decide to address domestic violence, such as ending a toxic marriage or even pursuing a restraining order.

Could there be drama in your divorce?

Texan parents don't always have the luxury of having a peaceful divorce. This can be difficult not only for you, but for your child as well. Lisa E. McKnight, PC, always prioritizes the well-being of children involved in divorce and will work with you to defend your rights as their parent.

Unfortunately, divorces can become very personal quickly. This is especially true for people like you, who are fighting to hold on to your child. On one hand, many of the older conventions of divorce no longer hold true. It isn't always the mother who immediately gets custody. Likewise, the person who makes the most money isn't automatically deemed the "best fit" for custody, either.

Goodwill in celebrity divorce

Regardless of a Texan resident's status financially or socially, divorce is a difficult process to go through. Not only is the status quo of a person's life torn up, but they could also take a big financial hit in addition to the emotional and mental stress. Celebrities sometimes have additional weight to deal with just by being in the eye of the public, too.

Divorce Mag states that these goodwill in celebrity divorce is essentially the amount of earnings they receive that is more or less tied to their celebrity status. In other words, if they didn't hold that status, they would have made less money doing the same things. It also creates the potential for future earnings based on reputation alone, so long as that reputation is good.

Divorce petition needed to start divorce proceeding

The thought of breaking free from your marriage and starting a new stage of life, where you live independently, may be appealing if you are unhappy in your marriage. However, you may understandably be unaware of how to kick-start your divorce process.

An essential first step in divorce in Texas is to file your divorce petition. Here is a glimpse at what the petition-filing process involves in the Lone Star State.

Comedy shows reinforce stereotypes about domestic violence

Domestic abuse in Texas tends to follow a predictable pattern, but the roles played by each partner are not always what people expect. According to FindLaw, research suggests that the numbers of men and women committing domestic violence against a spouse or partner are nearly equal to one another, yet men who are the victims of violence are less likely to report it, which unfortunately gives credence to the stereotype that a man is always the abuser, a woman always the victim. 

According to The Daily Dot, men in abusive relationships may be reluctant to report for fear that authorities, shelters or advocacy organizations will not take their claims seriously. The sad truth is that popular entertainment has conditioned audiences to view a woman hitting a man as a comical situation. The tropes have been around for years: the meek, milquetoast male character cowering in fear before the looming presence of the angry woman, hair in rollers, brandishing a kitchen implement such as a frying pan or a rolling pin as a weapon, the threat of violence imminent. The tropes have adapted as times change, and current entertainment presents them as variations on a theme. Viewers are now more likely to see "Friends'" Rachel smack Ross with a magazine than a frying pan-wielding housewife, but the laugh track prompts the audience to laugh even though audiences would certainly react in horror if it were Ross hitting Rachel.