Vernon Winfrey, Oprah Winfrey's father, looks like he is headed for a heated contested divorce. Divorce allegations include having an affair, income from a trust his daughter set up for him, and holding a gun during an argument with his sixty-four year old wife Barbara Winfrey. It has been reported that the million dollar residence is now gun free.
In a tragic divorce situation, a spouse may not only shoot his or her spouse, but may also shoot himself or herself. Carefully consider your options on how to deal with your firearms and prevent a domestic violence situation. We have some ideas on how to start thinking about how you may want to handle your firearms and how they can be used in a marital settlement agreement.
Some options when dealing with an uncontested divorce and firearms are:
- Have a friend store your guns at his or her place;
- Place your guns in a storage facility;
- Store your guns with a gun dealer; and
- Put a trigger lock on your firearms.
Creating a complete list of the firearms you own should be a precaution you should take. Make sure to include serial numbers. Some individuals may think their spouse would never use the guns against him/her. In the heat of an argument you don't want this to be an option taken in anger. Too often the words "I never thought this would happen" are heard after an avoidable situation.
If your spouse disposes your firearms you may end up being liable if they are improperly used. In some instances individuals do get their guns back from their ex spouse, but many times they were not properly stored and/or have been damaged. Some spouses have hastily hidden their husband's/wife's gun and unknowingly gave their child easy access to a firearm. Don't make the mistake of leaving your guns where you child may have access to them!
Keep in mind that a spouse may use your gun against you. Also, you don't want to give your spouse false pretenses for filing for a restraining order against you, especially if you have children. Think through the situation, and be proactive now instead of reacting later.
Even if you have removed the guns from your home you can include your guns in your marital settlement agreement. If the firearms were acquired during the marriage you can negotiate their value, using them as a debt (not fully paid off) or asset. You can get your gun collection appraised rather inexpensively, a quick search online will give you idea of their value. This can give you some leverage when negotiating your marital settlement agreement with your soon to be ex spouse.