Riverside Domestic Violence Attorney
California Domestic Violence Statutes
According to the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (California Family Code § 6200 et seq.), allegations of domestic violence cover a wide spectrum of misconduct. These include child safety and spousal violence. Any threatening or abusive behavior, irrespective of whether the suspected attacker intended harming or undermining the victim’s health and protection, can be grounds for prosecution under the California Domestic Violence Act.
An Overview of Domestic Violence
In a marriage or other kind of intimate relationship, the term “domestic violence” may be defined as abuse by one partner against the other.
A California Partnership Report to End Domestic Violence explains:
- Approximately 40 percent of Californian women will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives;
- Women between the ages of 18 and 24 are considerably more likely to be victims of domestic violence than women of other age groups;
- 75 percent of this population had children under 18 years of age in the home at the time of abuse;
- Nearly 40 percent of domestic violence calls in the Golden State included the use of a knife and
- Call centers in California State for domestic abuse answer about 38 calls an hour
Some forms of domestic violence include:
- Annoying Phone Calls
- Stalking (for example, following and threatening the victim to and from work)
- Physical attack or violence (including strike, grab, drive, fire or kicking)
- Abuse in mental, physical, and sexual terms.
Domestic Violence in the Context of Your divorce
Even though California is a no-fault state with respect to divorce, there are many circumstances in which fault may actually be a factor, particularly a conviction on a charge of domestic violence. In the state of California, whenever a partner is convicted of a domestic violence crime against the other partner during the five-year period prior to the divorce, the assumption is that no spousal assistance is available to the spouse convicted.
Notice that this assumption is “refutable.” It is not a statement of reflectivity. What this means is that it offers the accused partner an opportunity to present facts to “rebut” the accusation against him or her. When domestic abuse was committed from both sides, the judge could take this into account, and spousal support could possibly be given to the accused partner.
Domestic Violence and the Division of Marital Property
In addition, domestic violence may influence the division of community property during the divorce proceeding. There are cases where a conviction on a domestic abuse charge may be taken into account during the property division process. It is particularly true when the court has grounds to conclude that domestic abuse was part of the reason for the marriage’s deterioration. A judge could also find that one spouse’s domestic abuse may have had a detrimental economic effect on another partner. This may have arisen through unexpected medical costs, or a diminished ability to pursue or retain jobs. In plain English, if the abuse caused an unfair loss of marital assets in any way, then the person who was the victim of domestic violence should be granted more of the divorce marital assets. That can supplant the fact that California is a state of community property.
Making the Choice to divorce Can Trigger Violence
divorce may be the product of domestic abuse. In addition to this, there are circumstances in which the decision to divorce may potentially be the triggering act for domestic violence to occur. Very often, when the abused individual makes their choice to get out, the danger of violence in an abusive relationship is at its climax. All that may mean is that the offender will go further with his or her abusive actions when divorce falls into the frame. Therefore the survivor needs to be made aware that under California family law there are special rights available to them.
Does there have to be a criminal case in the family court to substantiate my claims of domestic violence?
While provisions recently introduced are now being integrated into family law circumstances in order to safeguard the rights of people who are victims of domestic abuse, it may still be a risky act for women in particular to speak out in family court regarding domestic violence without evidence from a criminal case in order to substantiate their argument. In so many cases, when a survivor of domestic violence raises his or her allegations in a family court case, whether in an effort to get a security order or in connection with child custody and visitation in a divorce, the door has sadly been opened to the perpetrator to launch “counterattacks” in some way. The simple truth is that the family court was not designed to handle domestic violence cases, and if the victim is not properly equipped, then raising the issue in court may give rise to considerable vulnerability.
Therefore, in response to this question, while a criminal record is not a necessary prerequisite in the family court for a survivor to speak about the abuse they have suffered in their marriage, it certainly helps to have evidence. A court prosecution strongly establishes the state’s important power against an alleged abuser. Under that regard, the family court is a forum designed to allow two private individuals to manage their personal differences. The state cannot be anything more than a referee between the two, in this case. Although both spouses are likely to have their own lawyer in a family court case, they are somewhat alone in making or defending domestic violence allegations. In other words, the allegations made in a family court case by a survivor of domestic violence are, to put it into context, only one person’s view of the truth from his or her own viewpoint. Since the moment that allegations are put out, it is extremely likely that the suspected suspect will clap back with his own allegations.
Deciding to Leave the Abuser
As we have said, there are several protections available for those living with domestic abuse and winding up in the family court. If you’re in a violent relationship, you’ll have a number of issues to consider once you decide to file for a divorce, or if you choose to separate from your spouse. This is especially so if children are involved. To make the smoothest transition, keep extremely cautious notes of every abuse incident that occurs before the actual split. Your records would become an invaluable resource at a time when you are standing before a family court judge asking for protection for you and your children.
If possible, then work on some plans before you actually file a request for divorce. Honestly, it would be incredibly helpful to have some money put away and a safe place to go — preferably a place your abuser wouldn’t be searching for you instantly. Heading to the home of a best friend or a close relative’s home can lead to even greater aggression from an abuser. Domestic violence is described, from a legal point of view, as violence allegedly perpetrated by the defendant against persons with whom he has a personal relationship. Domestic violence laws are intended to offer special security for these individuals due to the possible disadvantages that victims face as a consequence of their relationship with the defendant.
If you are in a situation where you need to get out fast, it is imperative that you immediately request an emergency security order. The order would give you custody of your children, and your spouse would be forced to stay away. If you neglect that step, you’d open yourself to an accusation of kidnapping. This emergency custody order will only be temporary, and you’ll need to think more about long-range plans for your children’s custody. A judge must make a custody decision according to the “children’s best interests” principle. So you have to make sure that everything is recorded and that every requirement is fulfilled.
How Family Court Rulings on Domestic Violence Impact Child Custody Decisions
When the presiding judge finds that there is proof of domestic abuse in fact, this finding will likely have a huge effect on child custody for years to come. In general, in the event that the court determines that a parent seeking custody of a child has committed domestic abuse against the other parent or child, the knee jerk expectation is that the accused abuser will not obtain the child or children’s sole, or even joint, legal or physical custody. California Family Code 3044 defines what is implied by the term “perpetrating domestic violence.” It states that the person must have deliberately or recklessly caused or threatened to inflict physical harm, or must have given the other person ample reason to believe that he or she was in danger of physical harm.
Upon the advice of the staff with Family Court Services or even a child custody assessor, the court is not allowed to make allegations with domestic violence. Alternatively, it must review any “true, admissible facts” which all parties submit. An individual who the court claims has committed an act of domestic violence can still qualify to be granted any form of custody if the individual can prove they have:
- Completed a recovery plan that met the guidelines set out in the California Penal Code; O
- Obeyed all probation or parole terms;
- Did a class or workshop on parenting;
- Finished, if applicable, a drug or alcohol program;
- Obeyed any protective orders issued, and
- If it is decided to give the parent some level of custody it is in the best interest of the children.
Visitation Time Decisions
You may find it bizarre that visitation is even allowed for your abuser, but keep in mind that as long as he or she hasn’t hurt the kids, visitation rights are likely to be granted. You may want to request supervised access, and arrange for a secure drop off and pick up location, depending on your circumstances. This may be because you think it’s extremely unlikely that the other parent of your kids would ever harm them, physically or emotionally. If so, then try to bear in mind, given how you may feel about your abuser, that children usually need both parents, no matter how difficult it might be for you.
Temporary Order of Protection
To others, having a temporary restraining order (protection order) against an abusive partner may be an incredibly threatening situation. A restraining order can serve the purpose of keeping an abusive partner away from you and your children, for a period of time at least. A restraining order applies in most cases to your:
- Your kids’ school, or whatever childcare facility your children are cared for in.
In case your partner breaches the terms of the restraining order, you are to inform the police. Police may inform them or arrest him or her of the requirements. When filling up the restraining order paperwork, you will be asked to explain your reasons for obtaining the order up detail. It’s important that your explanation is as detailed as possible.
In a few cases, the domestic abuser can engage in harassing activities as soon as a temporary protection order is issued – or even if it is not served. The same suggestion applies when it comes to accurate reporting of all domestic abuse happenings. You should also keep track of any stalking case, as you are also entitled to protection against this. Any unwanted, repeated contact that makes you feel uncomfortable is likely to be thought of as stalking.
- Follow you;
- Call you again and again, even after you have made it clear that you don’t want to talk;
- Refusing to stop sending or emailing you when you have told him or her to stop;
- Turn up at random where you are without reason;
- Gather information about you;
- Spread rumors about you fallaciously;
- Post your personal information or
- Otherwise, they would refuse to leave you in peace.
Don’t ever downplay your worries about someone stalking you. This is critical for your well-being. It’s also critical that you alert the police of any stalking activities in your pending family court case.
Talk to a Riverside Domestic Violence Attorney Today
If you are dealing with domestic harassment, or vice versa, whether you face false allegations of domestic violence, it is very important that you notify your family law attorney at Riverside of every possible detail. It would make it easier for your lawyer to represent you throughout the process. Armed with your full declaration, he or she will mount a strong case on your behalf which requires serious consideration of these facts.