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Types of Domestic Violence Crimes in California: Physical, Emotional and Financial Abuse

by Law Offices of David M. Lederman
Nov 27, 2023

Domestic violence crimes in California are taken seriously and can affect the decisions in divorce. Evidence of domestic violence may have an impact on issues such as child custody, support payments, and division of property.

If you’re seeking legal help for a California divorce involving domestic violence, talk with an experienced Divorce lawyer to get your questions answered today.

What is Considered Domestic Violence in California?

Domestic violence is abuse. The Federal Office on Violence Against Women defines domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another intimate partner.

It often refers to the types of crimes that can be committed in a personal relationship, such as between marital partners. Abuse crimes include crimes that are committed between people, behind closed doors. These include home-sharing relationships including marriage, as well as domestic partnerships.

California domestic violence laws describe criminal charges for offenses to harm or threaten to harm a spouse, cohabitant, co-parent, dating, or intimate partner. In some cases, the list of protected persons is parents, children, and relatives.

Domestic Violence in California Divorce

The two big categories of domestic violence include abuse that is psychological as well as physical. Actions can be intentional or reckless conduct causing or almost causing bodily injury. Actions can be threats of imminent serious bodily injury to the victim or another person. 

Is Domestic Violence Grounds for California Divorce?

States are known as fault and no-fault divorce states. California is a no-fault state, meaning that to divorce, you typically do not have to describe the conduct leading to the divorce. However, misconduct of domestic violence is considered relevant in divorce proceedings. 

The statutes in California are broadly interpreted to include threats, intimidation, deprivation of necessities, isolation, and limiting access to financial resources.

Types of Abusive Behavior in California

The definition of domestic violence includes several forms of abuse.

  • Physical abuse happens when an offender physically threatens or harms another person. This may include hitting, biting, slapping, shoving, punching, strangling, or other forms of violent conduct.
  • Emotional abuse involves demeaning attacks such as verbal attacks or criticisms. The abuse aims to lower the receiver’s self-esteem.
  • Sexual abuse occurs when the abuser forces or attempts to force sexual behavior on the other person. Attempts to force non-consensual sexual contact are included in sexual abuse.
  • Economic Abuse involves the abuser controlling household finances in a manner that makes the victim financially dependent.
  • Psychological Abuse is a form of abuse that involves the abuser causing the other person to fear them. This may be through the use of harm or threats of harm to the person or other family members.
  • Technological Abuse occurs when the abuser uses technology such as text messages, tracking, and social media to further increase emotional or psychological abuse. This may include harassment/stalking behaviors to control or restrict a person’s freedom of movement.

Understanding Restraining Orders in California

California law allows victims of domestic violence to apply for a restraining order and emergency protective orders. Issuance of a protective order does not depend on a victim suffering physical harm. These recourses are available for a person who fears imminent harm or has suffered emotional abuse.

Family court judges have the authority to decide specific issues in favor of the abused spouse when there is evidence of domestic violence in a marriage. However, the abusive spouse can present evidence to their benefit. The outcomes of the court’s rulings may affect issues such as child custody, spousal support payments, and property division.

Judges consider any evidence of domestic violence when making a divorce ruling or evaluating issuing a restraining order. 

How to Get Help for Domestic Violence in California

If you are in immediate danger, call 911. Your immediate safety is the top priority. You may also want to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Advocates are available 24/7 to answer your questions.

Talk to an Experienced California Divorce Attorney

If you are concerned about domestic violence crimes and how these may affect your divorce, the Law Offices of David M. Lederman is here to help. We are here to guide you through the difficult divorce process.

If you have any questions about domestic violence in a divorce proceeding in Antioch, Moraga, and across Contra Costa, Alameda, and Solano Counties, please get in touch. We are happy to talk with you. Call 925-522-8889 or send an email to set up a consultation. We are happy to discuss domestic violence, child custody, spousal support, property distribution, or other divorce-related issues in California.

Contact The Law Offices of David M. Lederman for Help Navigating Family Law Issues 

Divorce and family law issues can be complex and stressful, which is why having strong representation is important. It is crucial to contact an experienced family law firm at the first sign of a family law dispute. The sooner we start working on your case, the sooner you can move on with your life. Call 925-522-8889 or send us a message to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers. 

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