Chad Johnson, Accused of Domestic Violence, ‘Refuses’ Divorce
Nobody wants to get divorced. But some people need to, and if one spouse resists a divorce, there are ways around such an added difficulty.
Pro football player Chad Johnson is reportedly making divorce difficult for his wife, Evelyn Lozada, the star of (ironically) the VHI series Basketball Wives, who filed after allegedly suffering infidelity and domestic violence at his hands.
Ocho Cinco, Nolo Contendere?
Johnson, who made news in 2006 with his controversial name change from Johnson to “Ocho Cinco” – 85 in Spanish, his jersey number for the Cincinnati Bengals – is in the news again, this time because he’s refusing to sign Lozada’s divorce papers.
The wide receiver was traded from the Bengals to the New England Patriots, who released him in June 2012. He and Lozada married in July 2012, and he changed his name back to Johnson after signing with the Miami Dolphins later that month. It was a short honeymoon with both Lozada and the Dolphins.
Johnson was arrested on August 11 for domestic battery after head-butting Lozada during an argument. According to an ABC report of her appearance on the network’s “Nightline” show, the argument started after she confronted him with evidence of his infidelity: a receipt from a drugstore for a toothbrush holder and a pack of condoms.
Johnson was released by the Dolphins the day after he was arrested for the out of bounds head-butt, and Lozada filed for divorce on August 14. He pled not guilty to domestic violence on Sept. 13, and because he thinks he can get her back, he’s not cooperating with the divorce, according to entertainment media reports.
The Train Keeps Rolling
“It appears Mr. Ocho Cinco’s troubles ‘receiving’ items appear not to be limited to footballs,” says Colleen E. Cunnally, a lawyer with the Divorce Collaborative LLC in Franklin, Mass., who admits she’s a Patriots fan.
“I’ve often heard, ‘It takes two people to get married, but only one to get divorced’,” says Cunnally. “This is true! Saying ‘I won’t give you a divorce’ is not legally accurate; after all we live in the United States of America and one cannot compel another to stay married.”
Cunnally says Johnson is simply prolonging the unavoidable. “If one spouse is difficult or unreasonable, it can certainly delay the divorce process but it will not stop the train from rolling down the track,” she notes. Plus it’s just going to make him look bad to a judge.
“Particularly in this situation where domestic violence charges are pending, it comes across as controlling and egotistical to say, ‘I’m not giving her a divorce!’,” Cunnally says. “If litigants refuse to participate in legal proceedings, they are losing the opportunity to put forth their case and protect their rights.”
Notice Is Enough
What can you do if you’re trying to get a divorce and your spouse won’t cooperate? First you have to formally notify him or her of the divorce proceedings, which can be accomplished in several ways. First, service of the complaint is attempted, either by mail or a third-party civil process server or perhaps a sheriff.
“If an individual is evading service, the court can order ‘alternate service’,” says Cunnally. This is commonly accomplished by publishing a notice in a local newspaper. And if your spouse doesn’t show up once a court date is set, the judge can still enter an order; he or she is simply risking not having a voice in the process.
If you need advice about your divorce, contact a divorce lawyer in your state on Lawyers.com.