Domestic Violence in California
Some people wrongly assume the term “domestic violence” only involves injury during family fights, and only between spouses—and for that reason, some people are victims of domestic violence without even realizing. California law recognizes domestic violence as any willful, harmful touching or threat a person makes against a current or former spouse, cohabitant, fiancé, girlfriend or boyfriend, or parent of their child(ren). This definition obviously includes being injured, but it also encompasses any forceful action taken against you by a significant other, even if you aren’t injured in the process—for example, shoving, pulling hair or tearing clothes. Any of these actions taken against a significant other can be criminal in California, and if you have been a victim, you are entitled to protection under the law.
Resolving Disputes Creatively Can Save Time and Money
As a practice focused on family law, we try to help families resolve their disputes as amicably as possible. However, domestic violence is a game-changer as far as we are concerned. At the Law Offices of Hollie A. Lemkin, we believe domestic violence has no place in any healthy family unit, and we will utilize all available legal remedies to protect the well-being of victimized spouses and children.
Threats and Stalking
California law doesn’t just protect you against acts of violence, but also against threats of violence. If someone makes against you that prompts a reasonable belief that they will carry out the threat, that threat is illegal under the law—even if the person never touches you. This includes verbal threats of harm against you, as well as nonverbal threats like stalking or harassing.
If you believe you have been a victim of domestic violence, we can help. Call the Law Offices of Hollie A. Lemkin for a consultation.
How We Approach Domestic Violence
For anyone who approaches us with concerns about domestic violence, our first priority is always the safety of the victim, as well as the safety of any children involved in the union. The steps we take to help you may include any/all of the following:
- Ensuring immediate safety for your and the children (including finding a temporary safe space, if necessary)
- Filing appropriate criminal charges with local prosecutors on your behalf
- Seeking a restraining order from the courts forbidding the offender from getting close to you and/or the children
- Filing for divorce (if applicable), or adjusting our strategy if a divorce is already in process
- Exploring your options for civil litigation
Domestic Violence in California
Many people wrongly believe that domestic violence only involves injuries from family fights between spouses. Sadly, this misunderstanding means that some people can be victims of domestic violence without even realizing it. Understanding domestic violence is the first step to identifying and preventing it.
The state of California recognizes domestic violence as abuse or threats of harm between individuals in an intimate relationship, and these include people who:
- Are married
- Are dating or previously dating
- Are living together or previously living together
- Have a child together
It can also include those who are closely related by blood or marriage.
- Physically hurting or attempting to hurt someone, intentionally or recklessly
- Sexual assault
- Causing another person to be reasonably afraid that they are going to be seriously hurt
- Behaviors like harassing, stalking, threatening, hitting, destroying property, or disturbing their peace.
Contrary to popular belief, abuse in domestic violence does not have to be physical. It can be verbal, emotional, or even psychological. Abuse can take many forms and isn’t always easy to identify.
If you believe you have or are being abused by a partner, you are entitled to protection under the law.
It’s not always easy to pick out an abusive partner. They often blend in and seem friendly, calm, and intelligent around others. Abusers often learn their destructive habits from their families during childhood, can also develop bad behaviors due to substance abuse, mental or emotional problems, and more.
Abusers tend to isolate their victims from family, friends, work, and other outside contacts. They often have control issues and are prone to extreme jealousy. There is a typical cycle of abuse followed by remorse and trying to win the partner back. Not all abusers have these characteristics, so it can be difficult to tell at first sight.
Even after someone exits an abusive relationship, the survivor often carries an emotional weight with them. This weight could manifest in having trouble trusting others, PTSD-like flashbacks, and even medical issues. They are more likely to develop sexual problems, sleep issues, instances of substance abuse, low self-esteem, and other long-term problems.
Getting the right kind of help is paramount in making a recovery and going back to a normal life and routine.
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
A restraining order is a legal order that helps protect people from abuse. There are several types of domestic abuse restraining orders that best apply in different situations: emergency, temporary, permanent, and criminal protective.
To apply for a domestic violence restraining order, you must meet specific criteria:
- Have been abused or have been threatened to be abused
- You have a close relationship with that person, such as being married, co-parents, dating, living together, etc.
If you don’t qualify for a domestic abuse restraining order, there might be other options available such as a civil harassment, workplace violence, or dependent-abuse restraining order.
What Can a Restraining Order Accomplish?
A restraining order is a court order that must be followed. Once the order is created, it enters a statewide computer system that informs law enforcement about the arrangement.
Here are some of the things a restraining order can prevent a person from doing:
- Make contact with you, your children, other relatives, your housemates, pets, etc.
- Come near your home, work, or children’s schools.
- Continue living with you.
- Own a gun.
- Cease paying spousal or partner support, child support, or specific bills.
A restraining order cannot end a marriage or domestic partnership nor be used to establish parentage.