Clearwater area couple speaks with police and prosecutors about their problems that led to a turbulent divorce
Local news for the Clearwater area reported on a divorce struggle that resulted in accusations of criminal behavior and other serious problems.
Couple’s episode leading to their separation is full of accusations and lies that resulted in criminal investigations
The divorce of a Lakeland, Florida couple had led to domestic violence charges, stolen guns, and other issues that made local headlines over the course of several months.
News stations first took notice when the wife of the couple broke into her husband’s apartment, stole multiple firearms, and then turned them over to local police. She initially said that she feared for her own safety and her children, and this was what caused her to confiscate the weapons. The husband of the couple was arrested a day early and charged with a felony when his wife claimed that he was following her in his vehicle and struck her car from behind.
For the domestic violence case, the state attorney’s office eventually agreed to drop all charges in exchange for participation in a 12 month pre-trial diversion program. Pre-trial diversion is normally available in Florida’s criminal court system for those who have no other prior record. The state attorney assigned to the case changed his mind when he realized that the wife of the couple had burglarized her husband’s car and illegally installed a tracking device, even though she claimed innocence throughout all of their problems.
Data from the tracking device and her cell phone showed that she was actually at her husband’s apartment during many crucial events of the days prior, and that she may have been lying about a number of these incidents. The assistant state attorney assigned to the case also believes that she lied about her location in sworn testimony and misrepresented her husband’s criminal history to the Lakeland Police. She fabricated a story about hiding in her bedroom in fear with a gun under her pillow for protection. Location data showed that she was not in the place she claimed to be.
In the notes for the case disposition which dropped the charges, the investigation concluded that the wife had made a number of false allegations and misrepresentations that made their marital problems seem much more absurd and riddled with criminal activity than was actually the case. They specifically mentioned that the wife had gone to great lengths to create stories about domestic violence that turned out to be untrue. Investigators believe that this was mostly done to create an advantage in their pending civil divorce case. The final words of the disposition were related to the highly emotional nature of both spouses at certain points in time, and the fact that their better judgment was clouded.
The State Attorney’s Office gave the local family courts the green light to proceed with their civil divorce case, as the criminal matters had all been resolved. It remains to be seen how the family courts will look at the criminal cases and factor them into the divorce proceedings.
Divorces and a spouse’s history and character
An unfortunate reality of going through a divorce is that couples are incentivized to portray each other in an unfavorable light. This is most common during child custody disputes, where the parent who is found to be most suitable by a judge will be given more custody time. However, as this news story shows, couples find all kinds of reasons to argue and damage the other spouse’s reputation. There is often a belief that making the other spouse look like a bad person through any means possible will create favoritism for the wronged party. However, there are limits to a judge’s discretion and they do have to follow certain procedures and rules for issues like property division and child support payments. If a judge’s findings are improper, rulings may be overturned on appeal by a higher court.
Domestic violence issues and protective orders
It is also common for couples who are experiencing a tense situation to engage in physical conflicts. This is a serious problem and legitimate domestic violence issues should be reported to the police immediately. An attorney should also be contacted to get a protective order from the local courts, which prevents an abusive spouse from coming into contact with their husband or wife. The person responsible may have to resolve their criminal charges before the civil divorce case can proceed, and their record will be factored into decisions related to child custody, as courts do not like to place children with parents who have a history of violence or crime.
Divorce lawyers in Clearwater Florida
There are local attorneys who can assist you with any problems related to divorces, domestic violence, property division, and child custody issues. The Law Offices of Yeazell and Sweet will provide you with more information.
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