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How Does Domestic Violence Impact A Divorce Or Child Custody Case In California?

In the state of California, domestic violence isn't merely a private issue but one that has deep implications for divorce and child custody proceedings. Experiencing or witnessing violence within the confines of your home can leave lasting scars, both physically and emotionally.

When it comes to legal matters, these experiences can influence the outcome of your divorce or child custody case. At Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC, we strive to protect the interests of those subjected to domestic violence, but we also work to secure the rights of those facing unfounded violations of domestic violence. The issues are complex and delicate, so it is important to give all the facts the attention they deserve.

Domestic Violence and Child Custody Determinations

In California, nothing surpasses the importance of a child's safety and mental well-being. When the courts are presented with evidence pointing towards domestic violence, they take this into serious consideration when deliberating on custody or visitation rights.

An individual proven to be abusive might not only lose custody but also be limited to supervised visits only. This measure is designed to ensure the child's physical and psychological safety. Always remember, when it comes to child custody, the child's interests are central.

Financial Ramifications of Domestic Violence in Divorces

While the physical and emotional ramifications of domestic violence are undeniably significant, there's another dimension often overlooked: the financial implications in a divorce setting. A victim of domestic violence may receive a greater amount of alimony or spousal support.

An abusive partner may be legally bound to make restitution payments. Whether you have been subjected to domestic violence or you are being accused of domestic violence, you will benefit most if you seek comprehensive legal advice and representation from an attorney who understands how the details impact your case and how to advocate most effectively based on your specific circumstances.

Protective Measures in California Divorce Proceedings

In California, the safety and well-being of individuals are of paramount concern when domestic violence is alleged. For individuals undergoing the strain of divorce while dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence, the legal system offers protective orders. These orders, tailored to specific needs, can prohibit the abusive partner from initiating contact or can set stringent guidelines for visitation, ensuring the safety of all involved.

At Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC, we work to ensure that protective orders provide necessary protection without overburdening either party to ensure a safer transition during the divorce process. We assist with obtaining orders and can provide advice on how to comply with terms to avoid a potential violation.

The Importance of Evidence in Domestic Violence Cases

When raising allegations of domestic violence in a divorce or child custody case in California, evidence becomes paramount. Simple allegations may serve to get a temporary protection order, but to impact a case in the long term, it is important to provide evidence such as police reports, medical records detailing injuries, or testimonies from witnesses.

Our team helps gather, preserve, and present evidence to prove or refute allegations of domestic violence. We recognize the gravity of the situation and ensure your voice is not only heard but substantiated with the right documentation.

Emotional Support and Counseling Resources

While legal guidance is indispensable in cases involving domestic violence, emotional healing and support play an equally critical role. It's essential to understand that domestic violence survivors, including children, often benefit from professional counseling to cope with the trauma and transition into healthier living circumstances.

Counseling can aid in understanding feelings, rebuilding self-esteem, and setting the foundation for a brighter, violence-free future. California offers numerous resources and support groups tailored to assist domestic violence survivors. We not only stand by our clients in the courtroom but also ensure they're aware of the holistic support available to them.

Contact Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC

At Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC, our focus extends beyond just legal representation. We are here to guide, support, and champion the rights of those impacted by domestic violence. Your well-being, and that of your loved ones, is our utmost priority, and we're committed to helping you embark on a fresh chapter in your life.

Navigating divorce in California, especially in the context of domestic violence, requires dedicated expertise. The Certified Family Law Specialists at Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC understand the complexities and fight tenaciously to protect the rights of clients in all situations. Call us at 855-426-9111 or connect with us online to schedule a consultation to learn more about how our dedicated team can assist you through this challenging journey.

Defending Against False Accusations of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence (DV) is a serious charge that carries serious consequences. If you’re a victim of domestic violence, a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) can help you escape abusive situation and prevent further abuse in the future. If you’re on the other end of a domestic violence allegation, you are well advised to seek the help of an attorney because you may be in very serious trouble—especially if those allegations are backed by facts and evidence.

It should be noted that domestic violence extends beyond physical acts. Domestic violence encompasses harassment, stalking, threats of violence, punching walls, destroying property, and other forms of disturbing someone’s peace. All are very serious allegations that should not be pursued frivolously. However, in emotionally heated situations like a divorce or separation, and due to the many serious effects of a restraining order, vindictive individuals are compelled to try and take advantage of systems designed to protect those who are vulnerable.

Consequences of a DVRO

Consequences of DV are not to be taken lightly. A domestic violence charge hinders getting any custody and visitation with children. Victims of domestic violence have enhanced ability to get spousal support. A DV charge may affect your Second Amendment rights up to 10 years. Someone with a domestic violence charge may be required to attend a 52-week anger management course and parenting classes. In addition, you may have a Department of Justice notation together with diminished employment opportunities.

Defending Yourself Against DV Allegations

Because the effects of domestic violence restraining order are so severe, too often parties drum up false accusations of domestic violence in an attempt to gain leverage in a divorce or separation.

If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, immediately stop having contact with your accuser. Do not destroy any potential evidence, and start gathering evidence that supports your innocence. Never talk to police without an attorney present, and seek out competent counsel to defend you in family court and/or criminal court.

Every case is different, but broadly speaking, there are a few different ways to defend against false accusations of domestic violence.

  • Lack of willful intent, or showing that harm to the other person was not intentional, but rather accidental.
  • Lack of evidence, or showing that abuse never occurred.
  • Show that it’s not a relationship that qualifies for protection under domestic violence laws.
  • Show that the incident was an act of self-defense.

What Are Temporary Restraining Orders?

An initial step in establishing a domestic violence restraining order is to pursue a temporary restraining order (TRO) in the courts. To obtain a TRO, a person claiming abuse files forms at a county courthouse showing that domestic violence is taking place. A judicial officer reviews the claim, and decides whether there is sufficient reason to believe domestic violence is occurring. At that time, a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) may be issued, which goes into effect once it is served on the party accused of domestic violence.

A TRO establishes rules prohibiting contact until an evidentiary hearing before a family court judicial officer, which usually occurs three weeks after issuance of the TRO. If you have a TRO served on you, you may be:

  • Ordered to leave a residence share with your accuser
  • Ordered give up custody and visitation with any children you have with your accuser
  • Ordered to pay spousal and child support immediately
  • Prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition

Until the court hears your side of the story at a DVRO hearing and decides differently, the temporary DVRO remains in place. Courts typically schedule a DVRO hearing three weeks after issuance of the TRO.

Conducting Yourself at a DVRO Hearing

If you have received a TRO, you will have a chance to respond to the accusations in a DVRO hearing. Depending on the nature of the accusation, and the judicial officers presiding over the case, you may be asked to submit a written response to the court, and/or verbally testify on your behalf.

When giving testimony in court, it is imperative to conduct yourself in a professional manner and follow these basic best practices.

  • Never, under any circumstances, lose your temper. Always keep a cool demeanor even if the opposing party tries to provoke a response from you.
  • Speak only to the question asked of you, and never offer any background narrative you might think is important. It is likely unimportant to the court, or it will lessen your credibility.
  • Do not make negative or nasty comments directed at the other side. Keep your demeanor polite and business-like.

How Does an Attorney Help You?

If you have been served a temporary restraining order, working with a competent attorney will take several actions that help you case immensely. Attorneys know how to prepare a response to a TRO in a manner that discredits false accusations of domestic violence. They are familiar with how judicial officials operate in the courts, what their concerns are, and how to collect and present evidence in line with those concerns. Having a competent attorney on your side will level the playing field for you and will afford you the opportunity to know that everything possible has been done to defend your rights.

About the Author

William A. Hinz has over 35 years if experience practicing law in California. He has specialized expertise in areas where family law and criminal law intersect, such as incidences of Domestic Violence and Contempt of Court.

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What Is a DVRO and How Can It Help Me?

A DVRO is a domestic violence restraining order. The courts issue DVROs to protect people against abuse or violence from a family member or significant other residing in the same household. That might include a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, or the other parent of a child.  It may also include in-laws, siblings, and stepparents.

Judge, He Looked at Me Funny: What Constitutes Domestic Violence?

by Chandra Moss

The issue of domestic violence has been at the forefront of headlines over the past few months, especially in the celebrity world. California law provides that a court may issue a protective order prohibiting an individual from "molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering, harassing, telephoning . . .contacting, either directly or indirectly, by mail or otherwise . . . disturbing the peace of the other party." California Family Code §6320 (part of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act [DVPA]). As a result, abuse under the DVPA includes physical abuse or injury, as well as acts that "destroy the mental or emotional calm of the other party." In re Marriage of Nadkarni (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 1483, 1497.

Attacking, striking and other forms of personal contact and battery are clearly acts of domestic violence under the DVPA, including Johnny Depp’s alleged throwing of a cell phone into Amber Heard’s face. What becomes a little more fuzzy are claims of mental and emotional abuse, in tandem with “controlling behavior”. California Courts, have, however, noted in In re Marriage of Nadkarni, cited above, that mental abuse is relevant in a DVPA proceeding. California Courts have ruled the following may constitute domestic violence:

  • Accessing and threatening disclosure of private emails. (Nadkarni)
  • Repeatedly contacting an ex-partner electronically after being told to stop. (Burquet v. Brumbaugh (2014) 223 Cal. App.4th 1140)
  • Downloading and disseminating text messages. (In re Marriage of Evilsizor and Sweeney (2015) 237 Cal. App.4th 1416)
  • Forcing a partner to keep a telephone line open so her activities could be monitored, threats to beat a partner, practicing marital arts in close proximity. (Rodriguez v. Menjivar (2016) 243 Cal. App.4th 816)
  • Threatening over social media. (Rodriguez v. Menjivar)

Other instances of domestic violence include financial abuse/control, punching holes in walls, throwing objects (without necessarily hitting an individual), threats of violence and the like. If you are unsure whether you are the victim of domestic violence, or if you know you are, please call our offices. We can help.

Domestic Violence: When Men Are The Victims

No one should have to put up with violence or abuse. Domestic violence or abuse can happen to anyone – anywhere.

Domestic violence doesn’t always refer to a woman as the victim. Even though 96 percent of the cases apply to women, the other 4 percent involves women committing domestic abuse against a man.

Statistics from the National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center state that more than 800,000 men are victims of domestic violence every year – about half the rate of women. This means that there is a male victim of domestic violence every 37.8 seconds.

Even though there are many programs out there to help women, there are few for men to attend. This is strange because men are abused in the same manner as women: emotionally, verbally, financially, and even physically.

Most of the time abuse works its way into the relationship. A first time meeting may show the abuser to be charming, complimentary, and generous. However, over time, he or she may turn threatening, use abusive language, deliberately frighten the abused, and increase his or her aggressive attempts of control.

If abuse or violence is part of your everyday life, you don’t have to put up with it. Talk to a relative, friend, or professional counselor. In an emergency, call the police. In addition, you can call the National Domestic Violence Helpline at 1-800-799-SAFE for help.

If you are a man being abused by a woman, don’t be embarrassed to seek legal help. Don’t wait; if you need someone to help you have a voice, and understand how to obtain a Temporary Protective Order consider the Riverside Family Law attorney from Holstrom, Block & Parke. One of our attorneys can walk you through the process of getting permanent or long-term protection.

Even though the process may be frightening and stressful,

About Dayn Holstrom

Dayn Holstrom is a hard working, compassionate problem solver who welcomes the opportunity to serve you in any way he can. His maximum availability to your questions and concerns begins with your free initial consultation. He is well-seasoned in all matters related to family law and a skilled negotiator and litigator.


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.