Understanding domestic violence in California divorce

There are millions among us in America alone that are subjected to some kind of domestic violence every year. And while the awareness is gradually increasing, a majority of the victims are still largely unaware of what exactly falls under the scope of domestic violence and continue to suffer in silence for years before finally opening up. To help you understand domestic violence better, we here have a discussion on the subject and its implication in a California divorce.

What is domestic violence?

Unfortunately, a common misconception among people is that they have not been abused until there is some kind of physical violence involved. The fact, however, is that domestic violence can involve all kinds of emotional, mental, physical and even economic abuse. According to Californian law, domestic violence is defined as any act that involves:

  • Sexual assault
  • Intentional or reckless bodily harm with the motive of hurting someone
  • Trying to threaten someone by making them afraid of some serious harm
  • Threatening behavior including stalking, hitting, harassing, disturbing peace of destroying property belonging to someone
  • Sending messages by text, email, telephone or on social media that are intended to harass or disturb peace of the targeted person

Abuse is considered as domestic violence if it is committed against the following relations:

  • Present or ex-spouse
  • People who are related by marriage or blood
  • Partners who have children together
  • Partners who have been engaged or are dating
  • Children in a family

What is Domestic Violence Restraining Orders?

Someone who has been subjected to domestic violence can request a restraining order from the court. These restraining orders are designed to protect the victims from any kinds of threats or abuse in their relationships. There are majorly four types of restraining orders:

  • Domestic Violence Restraining Order- Which can be used for people who have been abused in a close relationship such as a marriage or blood relation.
  • Civil Harassment Restraining Orders- Which can be used for coworkers, roommates, neighbors and distant family members including cousins, aunts and so on
  • Elder or Dependent adult abuse restraining order- Which can be used for victims that are either above 65 years or age or are 18 to 64 year-old dependents.
  • Workplace Violence Restraining Order- Which can be filed by an employer to protect any of his/her employee against harassment or stalking.

How a restraining order can help you against domestic violence in California?

A restraining order is an order issued by the court that immediately goes into effect and prohibits certain activities of the restrained individual. The restraining order can order the restrained person to:

  • Move out of your house with immediate effect
  • Stay away from your workplace, home or your kid’s school
  • Refrain from initiating any kind of contact with you or your children
  • Stay away from your pets
  • Follow any instructions regarding child custody or visitation
  • Follow any instructions regarding child or spousal support and make all payments on time

However, contrary to popular misconception, a restraining order can neither:

  • Dissolve your domestic partnership or marriage
  • Nor establish the paternity of your kids with the person who has been restrained unless the victimized partner agrees to it.

When a restraining order is issued by a court in the United States, the information is entered into the CLETS or statewide computer system that is accessible to all law enforcement officers in the state. So, if you have been issued a restraining order in California and you plan to move to a different state, you can inform the local police officials of your new place of residence about the order and make sure that it works there as well.