Former Spice Girls Singer Files for Permanent Restraining OrderApril 19, 2017
There is no doubt that orders of protection are an essential tool to protect against domestic abuse. We lawyers have seen them arguably save lives and certainly prevent physical or psychological abuse.
An example of how they work to benefit a victim is evident in the heated divorce proceeding in L.A. of former Spice Girls, Mel B, and her estranged husband Stephen Belafonte. Mel B had filed a temporary restraining order against him and recently extended it to be permanent when she learned that her gun-owning husband was legally not allowed to have a gun because of a domestic violence conviction against another woman.
Now Belafonte is firing back, suggesting in his divorce lawsuit that Mel B created a “false depiction” of her marriage and that when the truth comes out, “real victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse” will be upset and angry.
Like any strong and necessary remedy, orders of protection can be misused. There can also be unintended financial consequences for BOTH parties. Publicity or notoriety surrounding the accusation can affect family reputations, parenting, and even incomes. In the field of law, the use and misuse of orders of protection is such an important topic that we focused on it at Ladden & Allen’s Better Beginnings Fewer Endings Think Tank™ in February.
What is the right balance in these domestic violence cases? Courts and colleges and athletic teams and media stars all seem to be struggling with this difficult question. Clearly, the abused must be protected, and the law seems well-designed to offer it to those in need. However, there seems to be little or no consequences for those who make up allegations and later disavow them.
Good lawyers can certainly help victims obtain an order of protection, but they can also defend those who face wrongful accusations. One thing’s for certain: whether you are the accuser or the accused, you must take an order of protection very seriously.