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Ray Rice and Domestic Violence Issues

 After a new video of the domestic violence incident between NFL player Ray Rice and Wife Janay Palmer surfaced, Rice was suspended by the league indefinitely. Rice was originally suspended for two games in July, prior to the leak of the latest footage of the February 2014 altercation between the couple. This new video footage shows Rice throwing a brutal punch, leaving his then fiancé unconscious as he dragged her out of an elevator.  Subsequently the couple reconciled and married as planned.

Domestic violence is an alarming and pervasive problem in our country.  More than 1 in 3 women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.  It’s widely known that an abused woman may leave her abuser seven to eight times before she leaves permanently.  A startling eighty-five percent of women who leave an abusive relationship return. 

However who is the real loser in this situation? While all the focus remains on Rice, his career, and his relationship with his Wife, the real losing party is the child. Unfortunately, domestic violence can have a direct tie to a man’s career and financial situation. Domestic violence allegations can have a serious impact on the financial future for the parties’ child.

In theory, New York child support laws will not allow a party to seek a downward modification of child support when the party paying support has lost a job by their own fault. This includes situations such as DWI’s, criminal activity, and even domestic violence. However in a situation where a couple is still married, there has yet to be a child support determination. Therefore, should a custodial parent seek a child support order against their spouse in the future, the child losses here. 

Rice, 27, stood to make $4 million this year. Had his wife removed herself from the situation and applied for child support, even just one month prior to the release of the now infamous video, the child’s support obligation would have been based off of this figure. However now, his wife stands the risk of her husband losing his breadwinning status, along with the child support that would be based off of this figure.  She now would be filing for child support against an unemployed man with possibly no ancillary skills or earning capacity.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important to get divorced now. Other than the obvious risk of physical harm, you chance the risks of financial harm to you and your child as well.

On a further note, Janay Palmer has publicly defended her husband since the release of the gruesome video. She has professed her love for him and has stated that she wants to work on her marriage. While we always wish for a happy ending, it is with good reason that domestic violence victims cannot just “drop” their cases………….

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