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Amber Heard Vs. Johnny Depp – What’s Going On?

amber heard and johnny deppEscondido, CA – Johnny Depp is a beloved Hollywood icon who married Amber Heard in 2015. But this is far from a happy ending, with Heard not only filing for divorce, but alleging physical and emotional abuse, as well.

Heard has recently filed a request for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order accusing Depp of physical abuse and intimidation.  The case has been set for hearing.  Heard was granted a temporary restraining order, but the 52-year-old actor’s lawyer was quick to deny the allegations, instead claiming that Heard is lying in order to gain a favorable outcome in the divorce proceedings to come. Heard has witnesses and friends defending and corroborating her side of the story, while Depp has supporters on his side who claim Heard is lying.

So, what do we know and what can we surmise from that?

As with any Court proceeding—it’s all about the evidence all the time. In a Domestic Violence Restraining Order request, the requesting party, Heard in this case, has the burden to prove by a “preponderance of the evidence”, that abuse occurred.  Abuse can be anything from harassment to physical abuse.  In fact, if the Court is convinced that Depp threw Heard’s cell phone across the room, this could be enough to warrant a permanent Domestic Violence Restraining Order.  Preponderance of the evidence means that it is more likely than not that what Heard said happened actually did happen.

In “he said-she said” cases, the party with witness testimony or physical evidence that serves to corroborate their claims is usually the party that prevails.  The fact that Heard has a black eye is strong evidence that something happened.  Whether the injury was caused at the hands of Johnny Depp is another issue.  Heard will likely present pictures of her black eye and claim that Depp caused the black eye.  If Depp testifies that he didn’t do it then the judge is going to want to know how it happened.  Perhaps Heard self-inflicted the injury?  Perhaps she “fell down the stairs.”  If Depp’s attorney is able to effectively attack Heard’s credibility, then the accuracy of her testimony might be called into question.

Some of you may be wondering if the fact that Heard was granted a temporary restraining order will have any effect on the outcome. An attorney from the family law firm of Griffith, Lass & Young explains.
“The fact that the judge granted the temporary restraining order has no bearing on whether or not the judge believes that abuse occurred,” says San Marcos divorce attorney John Griffith. “All it means is that Amber plead facts that if true, would be enough to warrant a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.  Temporary Restraining Orders are granted based on allegations alone with no notice to the responding party.”

In the context of the pending divorce between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, this restraining order is a relatively big deal.  If Depp’s attorney is correct and Depp never abused Heard, then this could very well be an effective strategy for obtaining a favorable financial settlement or temporary spousal support order.  In fact, even in short term marriages such as this one, one of the factors that the divorce court judge will consider when ruling on amount and duration of spousal support will be the history of domestic violence.  If Heard prevails with her request then she could use the DVRO as a basis to request increased spousal support for an extended duration.

We’ll be keeping our eyes on this case as it plays out in court and the court of public opinion.

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