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Healing through advocacy: Mother who survived deadly domestic violence attack shares story to save lives

Stephen Clare, 50, is accused of shooting his ex-wife and stabbing their two daughters. 11-month-old Willow Clare died from her injuries.

SAN ANTONIO — Trigger warning: details of this story are graphic.
For the first time, a San Antonio mother who survived a deadly domestic violence attack is opening to KENS 5.

Mariah Gardner hopes her story will save others from suffering a similar fate.
On April 10, police say Stephen Clare shot his ex-wife near her Alamo Heights home and stabbed their two daughters. 11-month-old Willow Clare died from her injuries.
“He wanted to continue the relationship, I did not,” said Gardner. “He was still trying to win me back. That morning, he dropped off flowers and a card. It basically said, ‘I still love you, let this day start our second chance.’ I said, ‘I really appreciate it,’ but gently told him no.”
Gardner says Clare never hit her … until he tried to kill her.

Read more here.


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fearful, upset woman

Divorce After 45: Recovering from Decades of Domestic Abuse

fearful, upset woman


In a 2019 survey, 23 percent of participants cited domestic violence as a significant contributor to their divorce. The numbers prove that domestic abuse is one of the major causes of separation.

Recovering from Decades of Domstic Abuse

For those suffering from decades of abuse, life after divorce should teach them how to move forward, heal, and recover. Whether you are a divorced woman or a man fresh out of a long marriage, you can use this guide to help you get started on your journey to recovery.

Defining Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse refers to a pattern of behavior in any relationship to gain power and control over a partner. It is also known as domestic violence or intimate partner violence (IPV).

This type of abuse includes any actions meant to intimidate, frighten, terrorize, hurt, or manipulate someone. Humiliating, blaming, injuring, or wounding a partner are also forms of domestic abuse.

It can happen to any person of any age, race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender. Abuse can also occur within a range of certain relationships, including married couples, older couples, people living together, or couples who are dating.

It can affect all sorts of people from all education levels and socioeconomic backgrounds. Domestic abuse survivors may also include a child and other members of the household.

Domestic violence incidents are rarely isolated. As time passes, the incidents usually escalate in severity and frequency. The abuse may lead to serious physical injury or even death.

Types of Domestic Violence

Remember that domestic violence is not limited to physical violence alone. Abuse involves any action to gain control and power over a family member or a partner.

In this section, let us take a closer look at the different types of domestic violence. Knowing the various forms of IPV will make it easier to spot the signs of abuse.

Physical abuse

IPV in the form of physical abuse can involve the following behavior:

  • Scratching, grabbing, biting, or spitting
  • Strangling
  • Burning
  • Throwing objects to intimidate or hurt you
  • Pushing or shoving
  • Slapping or punching
  • Breaking things or treasured possessions
  • Hurting your children or threatening to hurt them
  • Harming your pets or threatening to hurt them
  • Exhausting you by disrupting your sleep
  • Any threats or attempts to wound or kill you

Psychological or emotional abuse

This type of domestic abuse involves behavior your partner uses to control or damage your emotional well-being. The following actions are examples of this type of abuse:

  • Yelling or standing threateningly
  • Mocking, name-calling, or making humiliating gestures or remarks
  • Interrupting you while you speak
  • Not listening or responding when you ask questions
  • Manipulating your children
  • Dictating what you can and cannot do
  • Placing little value on what you think or say
  • Saying negative things about you, your friends, and your family
  • Belittling you publicly
  • Preventing you from seeing friends or relatives
  • Cheating
  • Being overly jealous
  • Blaming others for their abusive behavior
  • Monitoring your communications

Financial abuse

Economic or financial abuse happens when someone makes their partner financially dependent on them. The following behaviors are indicative of financial abuse:

  • Hiding family assets
  • Not letting you go to work or attend school
  • Sabotaging employment opportunities
  • Sabotaging educational opportunities
  • Denying access to or destroying a car so you cannot go to work or school
  • Refusing to provide financial support or child support
  • Denying access to bank accounts
  • Running up debt in your name

Signs of Domestic Abuse

In 2021, the number of divorced men and women in the age group of 45 to 49 reached approximately 3 million. The figure shows that it is never too late to leave a relationship, especially if you are stuck with an abusive partner. Do not be afraid to call up a divorce attorney, regardless of how many years you have been married.

To recover from domestic violence, you must first recognize the signs of abuse. These signs can be little things that you might miss if you are not actively looking for them. To know if you experience domestic violence, ask yourself this: Does your partner:

  • Belittle you yourself and your accomplishments?
  • Say you are nothing without them?
  • Blame you for how they act or feel?
  • Embarrass you in front of other people?
  • Intimidate you to gain compliance?
  • Make you feel inadequate?
  • Tell you that you cannot make your own decisions?
  • Physically hurt you?
  • Use substance abuse as an excuse for hurting you?
  • Call or show up unannounced to ensure you are where you said you would be?
  • Pressure you sexually?
  • Try to stop you from leaving after a fight?
  • Leave you stranded somewhere after a fight?
  • Stop you from doing things you want to do?

Another way to know is to ask yourself if you do or feel the following:

  • That you can help your partner change only if you change yourself
  • Scared of how your partner may react
  • Make excuses and apologize to other people for your partner’s actions
  • Prevent anything that would make your partner angry
  • Never do what you want since you are always doing what your partner wants
  • Stay with your partner because you are scared of what your spouse would do if you left

How To Recover From Domestic Abuse

On average, 24 people per minute experience stalking, physical violence, or rape by an intimate partner in the US. This means 12 million people experience domestic abuse over the course of one year.

These statistics underscore the importance of resources that can help survivors recover from their trauma. In this section, you will discover crucial tips and reminders that can help you start your recovery after decades of abuse.

Recognize the effects of trauma

The first step of recovery is to acknowledge that you need help. If you recognize the effects of trauma on yourself or your loved ones, you must seek professional help. The effects of trauma include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Feelings of self-hate
  • Substance use
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Eating disorders
  • Flashbacks of physical or sexual abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Fear of relationships and people

Learn to trust

Emotional abuse can lead younger survivors to fall into similar behavior patterns as they reach middle age. One common reaction to trauma is to distrust others.

After divorce, survivors might be scared of making new friends, meeting new partners, and forming new relationships. They might be afraid of intimacy.

However, there are still plenty of good people out there. To heal, survivors of domestic violence need to begin to let people into their new life.

Understand why recovery is important

Some people might not understand why it is crucial to make an effort to get better. However, they must understand why recovery is important for their recovery to be successful. Otherwise, the process can be more difficult.

It is crucial to know that healing is the key to overcoming traumatic experiences. Yes, healing is different for everyone, but for any individual, it requires the intention to recover and release past traumas. This intention can encourage the following scenarios:

  • Domestic violence and divorce recovery allow survivors to develop closer relationships with others. This way, you do not have to spend more time thinking about your abuser. It is crucial to let your friends and family support you as you start the healing process.
  • It will enable survivors to focus on themselves and not on their negative feelings. While healing, survivors can take their focus away from the negativity and do what helps them.
  • It allows survivors to relieve their pain by finding new avenues to cope. You can take up a new hobby or return to your once-abandoned hobbies.
  • It also helps survivors experience their feelings again after releasing all the emotions from past mental health trauma.

Ask for help

Asking for help is a crucial form of self-compassion. Those hurting should not be ashamed to ask for help. However, this could be easier said than done for survivors of domestic violence.

Survivors have a natural tendency to downplay the negative effects of abuse, especially if the abuse is not physical. Survivors often think if they’re not feeling extreme physician pain, they will handle things on their own.

If you want to move on from an abusive relationship, there is no shame in seeking help.

Learn How To Live Happier After a Divorce

Decades of marriage should not keep you from filing for a divorce if you are in an abusive relationship. Call a divorce lawyer so you can get started on your journey to recovery. You can also get divorced without hiring an attorney in some states like Texas.

To heal from abuse, do not be afraid to ask for help and form new relationships. Keep your ex-spouse out of your mind and live a better life post-divorce.

The post Divorce After 45: Recovering from Decades of Domestic Abuse appeared first on Divorced Moms.


‘I didn’t know what he was capable of,’ mom says after her 1-year-old was murdered by the father

ROSENBERG, Texas (KTRK) — The mother of a 1-year-old girl who police say was stabbed to death by her father, who then took his own life, told ABC13 she stopped allowing her daughter to see him, but he knew the babysitter’s address where he forced his way in and kidnapped her.

“I’d never thought he would be the type to hurt her,” the mother, who does not want to reveal her name, said. “When we split up, he wasn’t mentally stable, talking about killing himself. I didn’t want my daughter around that.”

She and the baby’s father, Alexander Ordonez, 24, split two months ago. She said he was not working and allowed him to care for their daughter while she worked until recently when he started threatening his life.

She hired a babysitter and no longer allowed Ordonez around their daughter. However, she said he knew where the babysitter lived, and on Tuesday evening, he showed up and took their baby.

Read more here.


Woman with keys walking inside of home

What Happens to the Family Home During a Divorce?

Woman with keys walking inside of home

Woman using key to open door


Divorce sucks, I get it! It doesn’t matter the reason, the instigator, or any of the behind the scenes details you’re rehashing with your counselor, it just sucks.

There are so many questions during the process that need to be answered: visitation, separating the bank account and retirement funds, and support payments. The list goes on!

“Divorce is the one human tragedy that reduces everything to cash,” acknowledged Rita Mae Brown,  an American feminist writer, best known for her coming-of-age autobiographical novel, Rubyfruit Jungle.

What Happens to the Family Home During Divorce

Often, the most challenging asset conversation revolves around the family home. There are conversations both about who, if anyone, will stay in the property as well as about value and proceeds distribution. As a realtor, I’m called in to not only discuss what a potential appraisal or sale price point may be but also to give insight into how the next steps will look to the people involved.

The Money Side of Divorce

Most people are versed in the coming together of a home purchase, and even the sale of one. Few think of the points to consider, community property, a CMA, refinance, and services that are part of a division.

  • Community Property. Any income and any real or personal property acquired by either spouse during a marriage are considered community property and thus belong to both partners of the marriage. In Texas, under community property, spouses own (and owe) everything equally, regardless of who earns or spends the income. This is an important one to understand because if the current marital property is refinanced before the divorce is final OR if either party buys another property before the completion of the court process, the title company will require all person’s signatures and the house(s) belong to both regardless of who is named on the loan documents.
  • Competitive Market Analysis. This evaluation estimates a home’s potential value based on recently sold, similar properties in the immediate area. the analysis considers the location, age, size, construction, style, condition, and other factors for the property and comparables. Real estate agents and brokers create reports to help sellers set listing prices for their homes and help buyers make competitive offers. In a divorce, it’s not uncommon for agents to be asked to complete a review prior to an appraisal in order to get a baseline.
  • Refinance. A refinance is a process that involves obtaining a new loan to pay off a current one. Usually, with a refinance loan, the goal is to have a better interest rate and better terms than the current loan. In a divorce, a refinance is often done to remove one party from financial obligation (and title) to the property regardless of current interest rates. The remaining party will need to meet lender criteria for their own assets, income, and credit.
  • Services. Utilities are an additional service that is required so that the property can be fully functional. These are paid on a monthly basis and include such as electricity, natural gas, and water and are often tied to the credit of the person who set up the accounts. In order to potentially avoid additional costs, if the property is to be retained by one party, making arrangements early to cancel service in the non-remaining person’s name and setting up in the other’s may eliminate connection fees. This would also be true of cable, internet, and phone providers.
  • Exemptions. A tax exemption is an allowance that reduces or eliminates the taxes owed by an individual or organization. Exemptions can apply to many different types of taxes, including income tax, property tax, and sales tax. It is not uncommon for municipalities to “drop” old exemptions when a house is retained by one party as if the home has a new owner. Be sure to follow up and have exemptions you qualify for reinstated or you’ll be spending more per month than you need to.

These five points address the “money side” of a divorce proceeding. However, one final item also should be discussed: security. Whether a peaceful dissolution, and absolutely if in a volatile one, the soon-to-be exes or their attorneys should document the return of keys, exchange any needed account info to update systems such as Nest or Google cameras, and provide any monitoring service with new passwords.

The post What Happens to the Family Home During a Divorce? appeared first on Divorced Moms.


What is Probate vs. Non-Probate Property?

When a person dies, their property must go through a process called probate. Probate is the legal process of distributing a deceased person’s property. The court will appoint an executor to oversee the probate process and distribute the deceased person’s assets according to their will or, if they didn’t have a will, according to Texas […]

The post What is Probate vs. Non-Probate Property? appeared first on Kreig LLC.


What Classifies As a Catastrophic Injury?

A catastrophic injury is the most serious injury you can sustain short of a fatal injury. Although a catastrophic injury can command a large compensation award, asserting such a claim is fraught with unique difficulties and challenges.

What Are Catastrophic Injuries?

There is no universal catastrophic injury definition. A catastrophic injury takes away something that is fundamental to your life–such as your ability to walk, move, or even think. The damage is typically long-term or permanent, with grave consequences to your ability to pursue your occupation or live a normal life.

Types of Injuries That Are Frequently Catastrophic

Following are some examples of injuries that frequently result in catastrophic consequences:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Severe burns
  • Disfigurement and large-scale scarring
  • Amputations
  • Multiple broken bones
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Injuries that require long-term medical care
  • Injuries that render you occupationally disabled (unable to make a living)

This is not an exhaustive list of the types of catastrophic injuries that can occur.

Types of Compensation Available for Catastrophic Injuries

Texas courts routinely award several different types of damages to personal injury victims, including the forms of compensation described below.

Medical Expenses and Out-of-Pocket Costs

Texas law entitles you to full compensation for your medical expenses, including:

  • Doctor’s visits
  • Hospital stays
  • Surgery
  • Lab work
  • Deductibles and copays
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Medical equipment
  • Alterations to your home and vehicle
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Nursing home care
  • At-home nursing care
  • Child care
  • Help with bathing, dressing, and other daily activities
  • Incidental expenses, such as travel expenses if you seek out-of-town medical treatment

All of these expenses must be reasonable and necessary to qualify for compensation.

Lost Wages

You obviously can’t work while you are in the hospital or in bed recovering at home. You are entitled to compensation for the wages you would have made if your injury had not occurred.

You can also claim compensation for sick and vacation leave. Standard compensation for sick leave and vacation leave equals the amount of money you would have made if you had worked those days. The rationale behind allowing payment for sick and vacation leave is that claiming these off days depletes the reserve you might need for other occasions.

Calculating lost wages gets more complicated if your income is variable. This might be the case if your pay comes from sales commissions, for example, or if you are a self-employed freelancer.

Psychological Harm

Psychological harm falls into the category of non-economic damages. These damages might include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Damage to personal relationships (“loss of consortium”)
  • Other intangible losses

Non-economic damages frequently amount to the majority of a personal injury claim.

Occupational Disability

Most injury victims wait until they reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) before they file a personal injury claim. MMI is the point in treatment where your doctor does not expect your condition to improve any further.

Usually, that means a full recovery, but sometimes it leaves room for permanent disability. If you cannot return to work because of your injuries, you have an occupational disability.

If you have an occupational disability, your lost wages will continue indefinitely into the future. You need to include all of these future damages in your claim because if you don’t, you won’t be able to come back and ask for more money later.

Calculating the value of an occupational disability can get fearsomely complex—in fact, you might need an expert to help you calculate and prove the magnitude of your losses.

Contact a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer for Help With a Catastrophic Injury Claim

Catastrophic injuries typically involve large compensation claims. You can be sure that the other side will fight hard to avoid paying if for no other reason than the sheer magnitude of the claim. This state of affairs calls for the assistance of a qualified Houston catastrophic injury lawyer.

For more information, contact the Houston truck accident law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 500-5000.

Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
3120 Southwest Freeway, Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
United States

Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – East Fwy
11811 East Fwy, Suite 630-06
Houston, TX 77029
United States

Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – South Loop
2600 S Loop W, Suite 293
Houston, TX 77054
United States


TYLA Director Spotlight: Timothy Adams

Editor’s Note: In this blog series, we are getting to know the members of the Texas Young Lawyers Association Board of Directors. TYLA, commonly called the “public service arm” of the State Bar of Texas, works to facilitate the administration of justice, foster respect for the law, and advance the role of the legal profession in serving the public. All TYLA programs are accomplished through the volunteer efforts of its board and committee members, with the cooperation of local affiliate young lawyers associations. Learn more at

Name: Timothy Adams

Employer/Organization: Harris County District Attorney’s Office

Practice Area(s): Criminal Law

Why did you join the TYLA board? I joined the TYLA Board to help support other young lawyers and future lawyers through volunteerism.

What advice would you give to other TYLA members who are looking for ways to grow professionally? I’d advise other TYLA members to seek out and serve on a bar committee that is related to something that you’re genuinely interested in, and you’ll find yourself networking with like-minded people. Your service will be intrinsically rewarding, plus there will be ample opportunities for professional growth.

Before joining the TYLA board, what is your favorite experience with community or public service? My favorite pre-TYLA experience is a community service event from my third year of law school. Volunteers from the Student Bar Association participated in a community event held at Sunnyside Park, and it was great interacting with kids from the neighborhood.

What was your favorite movie, TV show, musical artist, or song from high school/college? My favorite musical artist from high school was Nelly.