Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

Published on:

By Amy Setzer, Legal Assistant, Woodruff Family Law Group

Domestic violence doesn’t end when a victim gets “out,” it just switches tactics. The final participant in our Communication Challenge knows that better than anyone.  Day in and day out, their own demons trick them into repeating the battle they’ve already won—only difference is, this time, it’s not in person.

Perpetrator #4: The Appeaser is ruled by fear; usually a victim of physical and/or emotional abuse.

Modus Operandi: Long exchanges in which the abuser attempts to regain ground, while The Appeaser attempts to…well, appease him. These conversations are typically much lengthier and frequently followed by a series of desperate, “emergency” phone calls to her attorney.

pt4

Numerous survivors of abuse fall into a communication spiral so predictable, it was easier to make a flow chart than try to describe it narratively. What The Appeaser doesn’t realize is they are living the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. To elude the inevitable onslaught of violent and demeaning texts, e-mails, and voicemails, they fall back on old habits like placating their Ex by soothing and pleading.  Yet by responding, they open the door for just that.  In the end, The Appeaser inadvertently contributes to the creation of the very situation they are trying to avoid.

In many cases, The Appeaser lived for many years in a world where they had no voice, no power, and no self-worth. Their Abuser stole all of that—beat it out of her either literally or figuratively.  Because most victims of abuse suffer forms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, the volatile communication spewing from their estranged spouses triggers a learned response.  This is the case with the Appeaser; it’s how they get manipulated into a trap like the one above.

Continue reading →

Published on:

CarolynMy husband Dwight prides himself on liking sappy Christmas movies, and he rents a lot of them. Ho-hum, I thought, but I was pleasantly surprised by the many social messages in Paper Angel.  The movie starts with Mom (Lynn Brandt) moving far away from Dad with her two children—Sara and Thomas. Sara is younger than Thomas. While the movie doesn’t illustrate domestic violence, Mom has a black eye, and you know what happened.  Dad loves nothing but his beer and his sports on television, and while Dad is oblivious to everyone and everything that his narcissistic soul in not entrenched in, Mom quietly gets the two children in the car and escapes with them without any of their belongings.  Mom was right to leave.

Mom, Thomas, and Sara take up residence in the “No Name City”, where life is meager and hard. Mom worked at a diner, and her boss was not very thoughtful.  The living digs were adequate, and the basketball goal in the driveway was makeshift from a bucket.  Thomas practiced basketball a lot, and he was quite good, which starts the bullying by the high school “King” of basketball.  I wonder if most bullies are afraid of something because the bully seemed afraid of losing his position as the star basketball player, and the prettiest girl in the high school just ignored him.

Continue reading →

Published on:

13062458_1042739802458603_2436945721037467362_n

By: Dana M. Horlick, Attorney, Woodruff Family Law Group

 

Hollimon v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo. 2015-157, 2015 WL 4747779 (2015)

(a) Facts: During their marriage, the parties established and worked for a business providing temporary staffing to hospitals. The wife testified that the husband ran the business and she was an employee. The husband testified that the parties ran the business together.

“Unfortunately, Ms. Hollimon and Mr. Al Bakari’s relationship has been rife with abuse. The abuse has not been one sided; it has been perpetrated by both parties, and each of them has requested restraining orders against the other at various times.” 2015 WL 4747779, at *1.

The business was run out of the parties’ home. On their joint tax return for 2009, the parties claimed a credit for business use of their home. The wife testified that the husband prepared the return, and that she was scared to question it because of the risk of abuse. The husband testified that both parties prepared the return.

The IRS disallowed a portion of the credit for the business use of the parties’ home and assessed a deficiency. The wife filed Form 8857, seeking discretionary innocent spouse relief. The IRS denied relief and the wife appealed to the Tax Court. The Ihttp://www.woodrufflawfirm.com/domestic-violence.htmlRS conceded that the wife was entitled to relief, but the husband intervened and opposed relief.

(b) Issue: Was the wife entitled to discretionary innocent spouse relief?

(c) Answer to Issue: Yes.

(d) Summary of Rationale: The wife met all threshold conditions except the last one, whether the tax at issue was attributable to income of the nonrequesting spouse. It was disputed whether the business income was attributable to the wife. But the court held that the dispute did not matter, because abuse is a recognized exception to the last condition, and abuse was present on the facts:

Continue reading →

Published on:

13062458_1042739802458603_2436945721037467362_n

By: Dana M. Horlick, Attorney, Woodruff Family Law Group

 

Sapp v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo. 2015-143, 2015 WL 4639260 (2015)

(a) Facts: The IRS assessed deficiencies on a husband and wife’s joint income tax returns for 2004, 2006, and 2008. The parties appealed to the Tax Court, and the wife sought both mandatory and discretionary innocent spouse relief. The IRS conceded that relief was appropriate, but the husband argued otherwise.

The tax at issue arose from the husband’s plumbing business, for which the wife served as bookkeeper. There was a history of domestic abuse in the marriage going back to 2002. The parties had been separated multiple times, and the wife spent time living in a domestic violence shelter.

At the time of the Tax Court hearing the parties were separated but not yet divorced. The wife had little income and was receiving food stamps.

(b) Issue: Was the wife entitled to innocent spouse relief?

(c) Answer to Issue: Yes.

(d) Summary of Rationale: Because the wife served as bookkeeper for the business, she knew of the tax matters at issue, and she was not eligible for mandatory innocent spouse relief.

For discretionary innocent spouse relief, there is an exception to the knowledge requirement in cases of abuse. The court summarily held that abuse was present, so the threshold conditions were met.

Continue reading →

Published on:

13062458_1042739802458603_2436945721037467362_n

By: Dana M. Horlick, Attorney, Woodruff Family Law Group

 

Agudelo v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo. 2015-124, 2015 WL 4086310 (2015)

(a) Facts: A husband and wife filed a joint tax return for tax year 2010. The return did not report as income certain unemployment benefits received by the husband. The IRS discovered this fact and assessed a deficiency.

The husband filed a request for innocent spouse relief. In support of that request, he testified that the wife had taken the benefit checks without his knowledge. The wife intervened and testified that she never opened the husband’s mail for him. By the time of trial, the parties were separated, though not yet divorced.

(b) Issue: Was the husband entitled to innocent spouse relief?

(c) Answer to Issue: No.

(d) Summary of Rationale: One of the threshold conditions for innocent spouse relief is proof that the tax at issue is based upon the nonrequesting spouse’s income. The tax at issue here was based upon the husband’s own income.

Continue reading →

Published on:

13062458_1042739802458603_2436945721037467362_n

By: Dana M. Horlick, Attorney, Woodruff Family Law Group

 

Palomoares v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo. 2014-243, 2014 WL 6778542 (2014)

(a) Facts: A husband and wife lived in Washington State. The wife was not fluent in English and mostly spoke Spanish.

The parties separated in 2005, and the wife filed sole tax returns for 2006 and 2007, claiming refunds. The IRS rejected the wife’s claims, as it seized the amount of her refunds to satisfy unpaid tax liability from the parties’ joint 1996 tax return.

When the wife did not receive the refunds, a legal clinic helped her to file Form 8379, Injured Spousal Allocation, which is aimed at allocation of liability on a joint tax return by an injured spouse.  The IRS rejected the form, informing the wife by letter that she needed to file Form 8857 to seek innocent spouse relief. The wife did not do this, but she barely spoke English and could not understand the letter.

Throughout this period, the wife was abused physically by the husband, her father in Mexico was seriously ill, and her wages were garnished because of the husband’s business activities. These problems caused the wife to suffer from depression, which was treated with medication.

The parties were divorced in 2010. The wife’s divorce attorney learned that the wife’s 2006 and 2007 refunds had been applied to the 1996 liability. With her attorney’s help, she finally filed Form 8857, seeking innocent spouse relief.

The IRS initially indicated an intent to deny the wife’s claim under its former policy regarding the two-year statute of limitations. After the IRS’s policy changed, it did not do this. Instead, it granted innocent spouse relief, but only with regard to payments made within two years of the filing of Form 8857. The wife appealed to the Tax Court, arguing that she should obtain relief retroactive to her filing of Form 8379.

Continue reading →

Published on:

News Release

by Jon Csuka, Woodruff Family Law Group

Take note that Guilford County is participating in a pilot program with regard to the e-filing of 50-Bs/DVPO. We are the first county in the State to put these procedures into place.

All 50-B complaints will be E-filed from the Family Justice Center located at 201 S. Greene St., 2nd Floor, Greensboro, NC 27401, (336) 641-SAFE (7233). I was able to go to the FJC for the grand opening. If you have an opportunity to go over and get a tour it would be a good thing – it will be a tremendous resource for victims of domestic violence. It is located directly across the large courtyard in front of the main entrance of the Courthouse on Greene Street.

Continue reading →