If you logged onto the internet during the spring of 2022, chances are you're somewhat familiar with the defamation case filed by actor Johnny Depp against his former spouse, actress Amber Heard. It's no surprise that a trial between two high-profile celebrities made national headlines, but the nature of the lawsuit has also brought the legal realities of domestic violence into the public eye. While this civil suit may not have a direct impact on how criminal trials are handled moving forward, it still serves as an important reminder of the many complexities of domestic abuse cases.
Cases Can Move Slowly
Depp and Heard were married from 2015-2016. The trial, which dealt with domestic abuse allegations from this short window, was not resolved until earlier this year. The legal aftermath of their tumultuous relationship lasted six times as long as their marriage.
Is it likely that the average New Jersey domestic violence case will last six years? No. Extenuating circumstances made the Heard-Depp trial unique in that regard. But most domestic violence cases do last longer than anyone involved expects them to – a dismaying reality for both parties, especially if there are children involved. Domestic abuse cases are always painful, and everyone involved wants to get them over with so they can move on with their lives.
If you're looking to file abuse charges against your domestic partner, or if your partner has filed charges against you, the best way to ensure your case moves forward efficiently is to retain a lawyer. An attorney who is knowledgeable in the domestic violence process in New Jersey can be the difference between an agonizing case and a manageable one.
Evidence Can Be Hard to Produce
One of the defining features of the Depp-Heard trial (and many domestic abuse cases) was its he-said/she-said aspect. The catalyst for Depp's defamation lawsuit was an op-ed article Heard wrote for the Washington Post two years after the couple split up. With so much time between the alleged abuse and the public accusations, evidence was not easily available. Much of the case essentially came down to which side could present a better argument.
In domestic violence cases, it's not uncommon for accusations to come forward long after the abuse allegedly occurred. Often, the abused person may feel scared or threatened if they speak up. In some cases, late-breaking accusations are found to be made-up, as accusers seek leverage in a custody battle or property settlement.
Regardless of the reason, the fact remains: conclusive evidence in domestic violence cases is not always simple to produce. The most helpful way to build a legitimate case is with an experienced attorney at your side.
A Dedicated Family Law Attorney
Attorney Joseph D. Lento is an expert on New Jersey family law. He and his expert team at the Lento Law Firm understand the complexities of domestic violence cases and are ready to help you navigate the process. To discuss your options, call 888-535-3696 or contact us online.