Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are currently having the unsavory experience of having their divorce and the details surrounding it exposed to the public eye. Obviously this comes with the territory of being celebrities, and the tabloids and are eating it all up and providing eager readers with timelines and analysis. But even if you are not into the gossip of the celebrity world, the information the tabloids have made known could be important to know if facing marital or familial strife.

To be brief (if you haven’t been following People Magazine or E!’s coverage of it all), Ms. Head has filed for divorce from Mr. Depp and has alleged physical domestic abuse over their entire 4-year relationship, the most recent incident happening on May 21st. Mr. Depp’s attorneys have characterized this as a tactic to try to get more money out of the pending divorce rulings. Mr. Depp’s attorneys argue that this is evidenced by the fact that Ms. Heard never gave statements to police in the past about any domestic abuse, and that her alleging it now at the time of filing is only to derive a better financial outcome herself from the proceedings.

It is unclear what direction their case will go, but there is certainly a key lesson in the world of family law to take away from all that the tabloids have reported. The lesson is that when domestic abuse does arise, it is imperative that the victim makes that known affirmatively somehow. The best way would be in a police report. A statement to police is filed away and can be used as evidence in divorce proceedings. If the police are called in for a domestic disturbance, the victim needs to be frank with the police with what happened.

This can be difficult. The emotions of the incident, a desire to protect loved ones (even after a possibly violent incident), or fear of retribution all might make a victim feel the need to not talk freely about what happened with the police. But this is the only way to avoid the problems that Mr. Depp and Ms. Heard are experiencing now. Had Ms. Heard made a statement to police when they had responded to calls about domestic disturbances, her statements could at least stand as a testament that things did actually happen, before any divorce proceedings were undertaken. But instead, without any past evidence to go off of, it is more difficult to ascertain if violence actually occurred.

So, even with all the emotional difficulties that come with incidents of domestic violence in the first place, if you are become a victim of domestic violence, it is in your best interest to have that documented somehow. If police are called, at the very least, make a statement about what occurred. Again, this can be incredibly difficult from an emotional standpoint. But because of the reality of what can happen in the future, it is imperative that this kind of evidence be available if you end up needing a family lawyer to help you ensure your well-being and your future.