Domestic Violence in Divorce Proceedings

Domestic ViolenceDomestic violence in divorce proceedings. Divorce proceedings in and of themselves can be contentious with the parties fighting over every little detail of how to end their lives together after years of marriage. There can be many arguments over such things as how to divide marital property, who pays spousal support and child support, and who is entitled to custody of the children. When you throw a claim of domestic violence into the mix, you have the makings of a very bad situation.

Although California is a no-fault divorce state, a domestic violence conviction within the last five years of the marriage, by one spouse or the other may have an impact on the court’s decision when it comes to issues of spousal and child support, child custody and visitation. The court may assign fault, when it comes to such issues. It is at this point that you will need the expertise of an experienced family law attorney.

The Many Faces of Domestic Violence / Abuse

Domestic violence is an attempt at controlling an individual or a situation through brute force or intimidation. Whether it is the conduct of the abused spouse, or in the circumstances surrounding any event such as a divorce, the abuser feels that he or she must be in control at all times and will resort to violence if necessary to maintain that control.

Domestic abuse is not always physical; it can also be mental, emotional and economical, or it can be a combination of all of these. It is designed to give control to the abuser while demeaning and tearing down the self-confidence and self-esteem of the victim. Contrary to public opinion, the abuser can be either male or female.

California law defines domestic abuse as a display of the following types of conduct by the abuser, against the victim:

  • intentional, unrestrained physical assault, battery and bodily injury;
  • sexual assault;
  • any other type of abusive, harassing or intimidating behavior by one partner against the other that would cause a court to issue a protective order to provide for the protection of the abused spouse.

California Family Law recognizes a claim of domestic violence for individuals that are in the following categories:

  • Current and former spouses and domestic partners;
  • Individuals related by blood;
  • Children and individuals who share the parentage of a child;
  • Individuals who are dating or engaged.

Community Resources are Available for Victims of Domestic Violence

There are a significant number of organizations available to help victims of domestic violence. Resources can be found on the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence and the National Domestic Violence Hotline websites. There you will find a list of hotlines and nonprofit organizations that provide such things as shelters and counseling for victims of abuse.

Domestic violence destroys many relationships. It creates such ill will among couples that  makes an amicable divorce proceeding almost an impossible situation. A claim of domestic violence may cast a pall over the proceedings overshadowing issues of spousal support, child custody, child support and visitation. California is a “no fault” divorce state; however, claims of domestic violence may play a major part in how the judge rules on such issues. If you are contemplating a divorce in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Ukiah, Lakeport, or any of the communities in Sonoma County, Mendocino County, or Lake County California, please contact the family law attorneys at Beck Law P.C., for a consultation at (707) 576-7175 or visit us online.