Criminal Defense Attorney Warns Women To Never Break Up With A Partner In Person

Break-ups with men gone awry are so common for women, it's studied in law school.

woman and furious man breaking up South_agency / Getty Images Signature / Canva Pro

Most of us want to handle break-ups as maturely and sensitively as possible, and that typically means an in-person, face-to-face conversation with our partner. But in light of recent events, a lawyer is warning women to never break up with a man in person, saying it isn't worth the risk.

The criminal defense lawyer says women should never break up with a man in person because of how frequently it ends in violence.

It is a simple and disturbing fact that women often feel unsafe around the men in their lives — and men in general, for that matter. The recent social media trend in which women overwhelmingly say they'd rather be lost in the woods with a bear than a man is a striking reminder of how common these fears are.


The unfolding story of the death of Mica Miller just days after she asked her husband, Pastor John Paul Miller, for a divorce strikes many as confirmation of those fears, as the history of their relationship and his recent comments about her death have raised suspicions of foul play. (Pastor Miller claims her death was a suicide; so far, officials agree.)

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But in reality, we didn't need a social media trend or yet another suspicious death to illustrate how valid women's fears are. 

As criminal defense attorney Michael Foote explained in a recent TikTok, breakups between women and men going terrifyingly sideways are far more common than most of us probably realize.

Foote explained that breakups turn violent or even deadly so frequently it has a name — heat of passion crime — and is studied in law school.

"Ladies, this is the number one way to not be [killed] by your boyfriend or your husband," Foote began his video. "When you are going to leave your partner, when you ultimately decide, 'Hey, it's time to go,' do not do it in person, do not do it alone, do not do it in a private setting."


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♬ original sound - Michael Foote

"There is decades of case law — case after case after case," he explained, "where the woman decides to leave the man, and that moment that the man realizes she is actually leaving… That is the moment that… [violence] occurs."


Almost half of female homicides are the result of intimate partner violence, and Foote explained that these sorts of crimes have a name: "They're called heat of passion crimes," aka crimes of passion.

Heat of passion crimes are similar to the "gay panic" or "trans panic" defense in that they are often used as a mitigating factor in violent criminal cases, especially homicide, to characterize the crime as having resulted from a moment of uncontrollable emotional distress or rage, rather than premeditated intent.

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It is often required that in order to prove "malice aforethought" in a murder case, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime was not a heat of passion crime instead.

These crimes are numerous and frequent enough that they are studied in-depth in law school. Foote explained that there is "an entire section of case law in my criminal law textbooks and law school" devoted to such cases.

Foote urged women to avoid in-person break-ups if they have even the tiniest inkling that it could turn violent.

Given the prevalence, Foote implored women to be vigilant about this phenomenon. "You might be thinking like, 'Oh, but he's different,' or 'not him,' or, 'but I love him,' or 'we've been married for X number of years,'" he cautioned.

But he urged women to listen to their guts. "If there's any sort of history of aggression or violence in this person's background," he said, "or you just sort of have that sinking feeling … maybe there's like a 1% chance of an extreme reaction, please just do it."

@yourtango Would you stay in a relationship with someone who hurt your cat? #catowner #catlover #reddit #relationship #breakup #catsoftiktok ♬ original sound - YourTango

Foote acknowledged how uncomfortable and sometimes hurtful an impersonal breakup over the phone or text can be — and it's natural to want to avoid them. But the risk simply isn't worth it.

"I'd rather you be a jerk who broke up with someone over the phone who is still alive than someone who is the next person in a legal textbook," he continued. "It's your life, and you only get one of them."

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.