Los Angeles Domestic Violence Lawyer
Family Law Lawyers Working with Domestic Violence Victims throughout Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley
Domestic violence is an extremely serious matter that can affect people regardless of their age, gender, income, race, martial statue, or sexual orientation. Under California law, domestic violence refers to abuse or threats of abuse between two people who are (or who have been) in an intimate relationship. This definition also applies to individuals who are closely related by blood or marriage.
If you believe that you or someone you love is in an abusive relationship where domestic violence is involved, you need experienced and compassionate legal representation. Our experienced Los Angeles domestic violence victim attorneys can explain your legal rights and file the necessary paperwork with the court to ensure your safety. Learn the steps to take if you are emotionally abused during a California divorce.
Definition of Abuse
For purposes of domestic violence, California law defines ‘abuse’ as one or more of the following:
- Physical attack (e.g., shoving, hitting, kicking, pulling hair, etc.)
- Sexual assault
- Placing another person in fear of serious, imminent bodily harm
- Harassing, stalking, or destroying another’s personal property
Types of California Protective Orders
California utilizes three types of protective orders in domestic violence cases:
- Emergency Protective Order (EPO) – Law enforcement must specifically request that a judge enter an Emergency Protective Order to protect the victim from serious injury or death. Judges are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and an emergency protective order may be entered at any time of the day or night. You might be able to obtain a kick out order during your California divorce.
- Temporary Protective Order (TPO) – A victim can locate a Petition for Temporary Protective Order online and physically file the petition with the court, which a judge will then review. If the judge determines that the victim is in need of protection, he or she will enter a Temporary Protective Order. The temporary protective order may order the abuser to do the following:
- Have no contact with the victim (in-person, by telephone, or via social media)
- Stay away from the victim’s home, school, and/or place of business
- Pay child support during the pendency of the order
- Refrain from further abusing or threatening to abuse the victim
- Move out of the home (if the abuser and victim live together)
- Have no contact with the victim’s children
A temporary protective order may also make alternative custody arrangements for minor children during the pendency of the order. A Final Protective Order Hearing will typically be set within 20 to 25 days. Once the court issues the order, there are criminal penalties for violating a restraining order.
- Final Protective Order (FPO) – After a protective order hearing takes place, the judge may enter a Final Protective Order. A final protective order, which replaces any temporary protective order then in effect, will contain many of the same provisions as the temporary protective order. A final protective order may also make alternative provisions for child custody during the time in which the order is in effect. A final protective order may be in effect for up to three years from the date of issuance. See related: Enforcement of Family Law Court Orders.
Domestic Violence and Divorce
As Los Angeles family law attorneys, we often have clients who are in the process of leaving an abuse marriage and wonder whether the abuse will play a factor in the way that their case is resolved. While California is a no-fault divorce state, there are certain areas in which a history of domestic violence and a criminal record can play a role in a divorce proceeding. These include the following:
- Child Custody – In cases in which a parent was convicted of domestic violence against the other parent in the past five years or a court has decided that one parent committed domestic violence against the other parent or the children, there is a rebuttal presumption that awarding custody to the person who committed domestic violence is not in the best interest of the child.
- Spousal Support – In a divorce case in which one spouse has been convicted of domestic violence against the other spouse within five year prior to the filing of the divorce, there is a rebuttal presumption that the abusive spouse should not receive spousal support.
It is important to understand that these provisions do not mean that child custody and spousal support cannot be granted to a spouse that has been found to have engaged in domestic violence, just that there is a presumption against doing so. For this reason, anyone involved in divorce in which these issues may arise should contact an attorney to ensure that their rights are protected.
Contact a Los Angeles Domestic Violence Victim Attorney
If you or someone you love have been or is currently involved in an abusive relationship, our compassionate Los Angeles domestic violence victim attorneys are here to help. To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, contact Furman & Zavatsky LLP today at 818-528-3471.