Handling Domestic Violence in a Divorce

There are always cases that require immediate attention. Regardless of the situation in your divorce or separation, if you are the victim of domestic violence, you need to get help immediately. As a divorce attorney, I can be your advocate and a person who can help you to find the resources you need to help get you out of a dangerous situation. This is important; if you are in an abusive situation, you need to call the authorities immediately so you do not put your life or your children’s lives at risk. After you have sought out the immediate help you need, we can put you in touch with advocates and other people who can help further.

What is domestic violence?

Unfortunately, there has been a level of acceptance and even celebration of domestic violence. Any time one spouse raises their hand to another spouse, it is physical domestic violence. It does not matter what sex the spouse is or what the circumstances are. Courts take a very dim view of domestic violence, and so it is important that you make records of any occurrences, including calling for police to help you out of the situation. Police records and any medical records will come in very useful to prove a pattern of domestic violence in a family law court. However, domestic violence is not limited to just physical abuse.

Other Forms of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can also include any number of other behaviors that cause a spouse distress. These include and are not limited to some of the following actions:

  • Sexual Abuse: Marital rape is still rape in the State of California and is treated as a crime. Nobody should force, coerce, or demand sexual contact without consent. This is a form of domestic violence.
  • Economic Abuse: Withholding finances, demanding that the spouse immediately turn over all their paychecks, maintaining complete control over the finances, restricting access to money, etc. are all areas where a spouse can commit domestic violence and should be reported to your family law attorney immediately.
  • Emotional Abuse: What many of our clients do not realize is that emotional abuse is considered a form of domestic violence and the courts will treat it as such. Constant criticism, name calling, demeaning the spouse, etc. are all forms of emotional abuse and you should make sure to tell your family law attorney about these behaviors.

Domestic Violence Is a Crime

In the State of California, domestic violence of any kind is a crime, and there are laws that are specifically designed to protect people from this kind of behavior. Under the California penal code SECTION 270-273.75, if a spouse commits an act of domestic violence, it has consequences that reach beyond the family law courts and into the criminal justice system. Nobody has the right to abuse another human being, and the courts have made this abundantly clear. As officers of the court, it is your family law attorney’s job to make sure you understand these rights and convince the courts to enforce them.

Getting Help

Do you know anyone that is in a situation where they are facing domestic violence?  In addition to getting a divorce, there are agencies available to assist them now and throughout the process. You can reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-7233.  Additionally, there are county specific resources available here.  Victims can also contact RAINN at 1-800-656-4673.  This can be a life-threatening situation so share this blog and these resources with them.

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