Domestic Abuse Or Violence Can And Will Impact Other Areas Of Family Law
Family law courts and judges take allegations of domestic abuse and domestic violence extremely seriously, indeed, they have to. California law imposes on the courts to carefully consider any factors which could affect the safety of a vulnerable party, especially children.
This means that in cases of divorce, child custody, and/or visitation rights, accusations of domestic violence or abuse, and instances of either, can have an important impact on the outcome.
What Counts As Domestic Violence Or Abuse In California Law
Before we dive into the impact of instances or allegations on your family law case, it is important to understand what exactly is considered domestic abuse. For that, there are two factors: what is done, and the relationship between the abuser and the victim.
The first category, what can count as an act of abuse or violence, is one that too few families understand or talk about in San Jose, or anywhere in California. Abuse is not just limited to physical harm or injury, it can also include several other emotional, psychological, and even financial harms including:
- Reckless or negligent behavior that can lead to unintentional harm,
- Intimidation, or behavior resulting in fear of harm or reprisal,
- Any kind of sexual assault,
- Harassment, stalking, endless phone calls, threats and more,
Clearly violence and physical harm is not the only condition, so if you are facing a custody battle, divorce or child support it is vitally important to be very careful with your behavior, as well as to record evidence or witnesses for any of the above behaviors.
Who Can Be Considered A Domestic Abuser In California Family Law
When facing a dispute or dilemma in a family law court, any allegations against either party will certainly be taken into consideration and investigated by the court. As a result, it is important to understand the second factor, the relationship between abuser and victim required for abuse to be considered domestic abuse.
If the accused is the:
- Relative of the victim by blood or marriage
- The current or previous spouse of the victim
- Lives or lived with the victim, or had children with them
- Someone the victim lived with regularly, dated, or was engaged to
- A parent of the victim
As you can see, the list can be vast, and if any party in a divorce, or especially a custody case or visitation rights case, is accused or proved guilty of domestic violence or abuse, the court is likely to rule against them or impose serious restrictions.
How Can Incidents Of Domestic Violence Affect A California Divorce Case?
In addition to being at the origin of many requests for divorce, domestic violence can impact the procedure, options, and outcome of a case.
First of all, if one party expresses a genuine fear of physical harm or reprisal from their spouse to the court during a divorce proceeding, it can allow them to get a temporary restraining order against the other party. This is meant to ensure their immediate safety while the divorce is resolved, and the allegations investigated.
Second, if allegations of domestic abuse are within the last five years, they can be considered in the court’s ruling and outcome, and the court can request any evidence regarding these instances.
Third, if there are children involved, and child custody is at stake in the case, the court is likely to rule against the abusive parent in the favor of the other unless they can mount an effective defense against these allegations.
How Does Domestic Violence Impact Child Custody Arrangements And Visitation Rights In California
Lastly, accusations and instances of domestic violence will be taken extremely seriously by Family Law courts in California when examining or ruling on child custody arrangements and visitation rights.
If one party can demonstrate that the other has a history of domestic violence, even if not against children or the children in question, this is likely to lead to the court ruling in their favor.
This could mean
- Removing custody and assigning it to the other parent,
- Restricting visitation rights to supervised visitation,
- Removing visitation rights altogether,
- In the most extreme cases (generally abuse directed at the child), permanently removing all parental rights over the child.
If you are facing a child custody battle, or a fight over parental or visitation rights in a San Jose Family Court Case; or if you are concerned about instances or accusations of domestic violence or domestic abuse on your family or family law case, you should immediately contact an experienced and caring San Jose Family Law Attorney.
Call (408) 909-4586 The first consultation is always free.