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State changes law requiring victim to pay divorce abuser

Every state has an imperfect body of law that is comprised of new additions over the years. That can result in strange loopholes that crop up from time to time when an unusual case comes before the courts. Texas is no exception, but many Texans were shocked to read how another state handles divorce and domestic violence. 

A woman initiated a divorce from a man who was serving time in prison for choking, beating and firing a gun at her. Very quickly, she learned that, in order to move forward with the divorce, she needed to pay for her husband to have his own legal representation. The state required a spouse to cover legal fees for an incarcerated husband or wife. Unfortunately, after he beat her and tried to shoot her, he then cleaned out their bank account, leaving her in financial turmoil.

The rule applied, even in cases where the incarceration was due to domestic violence against the other party. The case was brought to the attention of state legislators, who recently approved a bill that addresses the matter. If the bill moves forward and is ultimately signed into law, the state will assume responsibility for providing legal counsel to inmates convicted of domestic violence. 

For many in Texas, legal loopholes come as no surprise. As this case demonstrates, it sometimes requires the right example to gain enough attention to prompt a legislative change. Individuals who are trying to divorce an abusive partner have enough to be concerned with and should not be burdened with one more financial obligation. 

Source:, "Soon, spouses might not be stuck with abusive partner's divorce bills", Deborah Yetter, Jan. 25, 2018

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