Domestic Violence and A Divorce
CA is a no-fault state regarding divorce, however with Domestic Violence, fault could be a major factor and have a significant negative impact on the final outcome. In CA, if you have been convicted of domestic violence against your spouse within the past five years, the presumption is that the convicted party should Not Receive Spousal Support. However, with the right Divorce and Criminal Attorney on your side they can help you present evidence to “rebut” the conviction. For example, if the Domestic Violence was from both parties then the judge would take that into consideration and you could still get spousal support, even though you are the convicted Domestic Violence spouse.
During the Divorce proceedings Domestic Violence often also impacts the division of property, like your home for example. This is especially true if the Judge believes or is lead to believe that the Domestic Violence was the reason for the Divorce. Another consideration is that if the Judge finds that the Domestic Violence had an adverse economic impact to your spouse, like medical bills or being hindered from seeking a job, then the spouse who suffered the Domestic Violence might end up getting more of your assets.
The Difference Between the Criminal Case and the Divorce
The criminal case is not a mandatory precursor in family court for a victim to bring up claims of domestic violence against you, but it can help them in the Divorce hearing. A criminal case places the significant power of the state of California against an accused person, while the family court arena is a venue which allows two private individuals to hash out their personal differences. Think of the Family Law Judge as a referee, of sorts. Even if you have hired an Attorney in the divorce case, to some extent you are on your own as far as defending allegations of domestic violence. When a spouse makes accusations of domestic violence the judge simply sees it as one person’s presentation of the facts as he or she sees them.
Divorce, Domestic Violence and Child Custody
If the judge in your Divorce case finds there is domestic violence, it will often effect how Child Custody is going to work until the children are adults. Without a good case put in front of the Divorce Judge you may not get joint custody, sole legal or physical custody of your kids. California Family Code 3044 describes what is meant by “perpetrating domestic violence.” The person must have intentionally or recklessly caused or attempted to cause bodily injury, or must have given the other person reasonable belief that he or she was in danger of bodily injury.
The Divorce Judge will make their decision based on the recommendations of the Family Court Services staff, a child custody evaluator, AND any relevant admissible evidence, by both spouses. Often if the Judge believes you did commit domestic violence you might still be able to get some kind of child custody if you completed an approved treatment program like drugs or alcohol, complied with the terms of your parole or probation, finished a parenting class, complied with a restraining order and most of all if the Judge thinks it is in the best interest of your kids.
It is important to know that even if you committed domestic violence against your spouse, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get visitation with your children, as long as the domestic violence wasn’t against your kids. It is important to realize that you kids need both of their parents so if you are in this situation we highly recommend you hire a firm like ours that practices both Criminal Law and Family Law as a specialty.
Temporary Restraining Orders
If there is a Restraining Order involved with your Divorce, you might consider reading Divorce and Restraining Orders
If you have been falsely or correctly accused of domestic violence and now your facing a Divorce, it is so important to hire the right Law Firm. The best thing you can do when you’re faced with restraining orders, criminal charges, divorce, custody of the children, spousal and child support is to hire an experienced Criminal AND Divorce Attorney that understands both and how they impact each other. If you already have a restraining order or are seeking a complicated restraining order, or there is domestic violence or a crime involved in an upcoming divorce, a good first step is calling Steve Whitworth, who you can feel comfortable with and will guide you through the entire process.
Steve Whitworth does offer free consultations so you can ask questions and find out your options. Steve, realizes that finding the right attorney-client partnership can help set a complicated domestic violence divorce with children off on the right foot for the emotional journey ahead and ultimately to get you the best outcome possible.
“I would recommend Steve and his team to anyone in need.”- John H.
“He showed up at 4 am while I was in jail to brief me on how to get out. He not only got me out but got me the best possible deal. I was facing 15 years in prison and I got 30 days house arrest.”- Curt L.
“He is very good and educated at what he does.”- Shelby V.
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