The divorce of national evangelist Juanita Bynum is moving north to Gwinnett County.
Attorneys in the Bynum-Thomas W. Weeks divorce agreed Tuesday to dismiss the filing in Ware County and move the case to Gwinnett County Superior Court, according to Randy Kessler, who is representing Weeks in the matter .
The re-filing of the divorce petition could come with some surprises, however.
Bynum may not be the only one claiming “cruel treatment” as part of the argument for ending her marriage to Weeks.
Kessler, a partner in the Atlanta firm of Kessler, Schwarz and Solomiany, said Weeks also has been mistreated in his marriage to Bynum.
“She has engaged in cruel treatment of him,” Kessler said. “Certainly when there is a spat, I don’t think I have ever seen a case where it wasn’t on both sides … If and when he decides the marriage is no longer reconcilable that will likely be part of his counter claim.”
But for now, Weeks is still interested in working things out with his wife. “Our client’s hope is that she doesn’t file it anywhere. ”
Bynum’s divorce attorney Karla Walker of Valdosta was unavailable for comment.
On Monday, a petition filed by Walker cited “cruel treatment” as grounds for Bynum’s divorce. The filing also said the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
Weeks, 40, was charged with felony aggravated assault, felony terroristic threats and two counts of simple battery in connection with the alleged attack on Bynum the night of Aug. 21. He could face up to 27 years in jail if convicted.
The divorce petition was filed Monday in Ware County, where Bynum has a home. The re-filing of the petition moves the case to Gwinnett, where Weeks is living in the coupleÃ¢‚¬„¢s Duluth home. The couple’s property includes Global Destiny Church of Duluth, where they launched a ministry together in 2006. According to the document, Bynum and Weeks were married July 22, 2002, and have been separated since June.
Walker said Monday that Bynum thought long and hard before seeking the divorce. “She loved her husband, ” Walker said. “But she does feel it is necessary to stop the domestic violence and go on with the divorce.”
Bynum is a former hairdresser and flight attendant who became a Pentecostal evangelist, author and gospel singer. Her ministry blossomed after she preached at a singles event about breaking free of sexual promiscuity, and she is known for her intense, no-nonsense style. Her books include “No More Sheets: The Truth About Sex” and “Matters of the Heart.”
Her album “A Piece of My Passion” had been listed in the top 10 gospel albums by Billboard magazine for several months. She also preaches through televised sermons.
The couple were married in a million-dollar, televised ceremony. They wrote “Teach Me How to Love You: The Beginnings.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.