Last month, music superstar Jay Z, husband of equally famous music superstar Beyonce, was allegedly assaulted by Beyonce's sister, Solange Knowles, at the Standard Hotel in New York City following the Met Gala. As I've done before on this blog, I try to treat the domestic relations difficulties of celebrities as teaching and learning opportunities for myself, clients, future clients, and the public. After reading an article about the incident, I was curious. Could Solange Knowles have been charged with domestic violence if the alleged assault took place in Virginia. And the answer was no.
First, it may be helpful to point out that domestic violence laws do not just apply to assaults between spouses or between parents and their children. According to Virginia Code Section 18.2-57.2, "[a]ny person who commits an assault and battery against a family or household member is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
According to Virginia law, a family or household member is "(i) the person's spouse, whether or not he or she resides in the same home with the person, (ii) the person's former spouse, whether or not he or she resides in the same home with the person, (iii) the person's parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, brothers, sisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, grandparents and grandchildren, regardless of whether such persons reside in the same home with the person, (iv) the person's mother-in-law, father-in-law, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law who reside in the same home with the person, (v) any individual who has a child in common with the person, whether or not the person and that individual have been married or have resided together at any time, or (vi) any individual who cohabits or who, within the previous 12 months, cohabited with the person, and any children of either of them then residing in the same home with the person."
Even though Jay Z is Solange Knowles' brother in law, they do not reside in the same home together. Therefore, she could not have been charged with domestic violence in Virginia. However, she still could have been charged with assault and battery in Virginia pursuant to Virginia Code Section 18.2-57 which covers assaults and batteries made between non-family or household members. A violation of Virginia Code Section 18.2-57 is also a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia.
-Rob Hagy, Charlottesville Divorce Lawyer. If you have been charged with domestic assault and battery, please contact my office for assistant at (434)293-4562 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.