Nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. According to the California Women‘s Health Survey (CWHS), approximately 40 percent of California women experience violence from a partner in their lifetimes.

If you think you may be a victim of domestic violence, here are some facts to consider.

Do I Need a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

    • Domestic violence is bodily injury, sexual assault, and threats perpetrated against a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, a person in a dating/engagement relationship, the parent who has a child with the abuser, and blood-relatives. (California Family Code §6203, Family Code §6211, and Family Code §6320)

(1) You and/or your child are in immediate and present danger of domestic violence by a family or household member based on recent incidents of abuse. 

(2) Your child is in immediate and present danger of abuse or abduction by a family or household member. 

    • On a showing of good cause, the San Diego County Family Court may give you the exclusive care, possession, or control of any animal owned by you.

Should I Retain an Attorney?

If you are a victim of domestic violence, have had a violent domestic dispute, or you have a child who has been abused, an experienced family law attorney can help. They can help you protect yourself and your loved ones by filing and obtaining a domestic violence restraining order.

These orders may include the following: 

(1) Removal of the abusive party from the home and ordering him or her to stay away from you, the home, the child’s school, and your workplace.

(2) Enjoining the abuser from molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering, harassing, and calling you.

(3) Child custody/supervised visitation arrangements

(4) Spousal and child support

An experienced family law attorney will gather evidence, work with you to prepare your case, and will appear in court with you to obtain a domestic violence restraining order. If the abuser violates the restraining orders, your attorney will take the steps necessary to enforce the orders. They will be an important advocate for you and your family, which is invaluable during such a difficult time. 

What If I’m Accused of Domestic Violence?

If you have been accused of domestic violence and you’re asking yourself, “Should I hire an attorney,” you’ll want to know your options. Unfortunately, allegations of domestic violence are often used to gain custody advantages, get control of the family residence, gain an advantage related to certain assets, or avoid potential support obligations. 

Since violence can be proven only by a preponderance of the evidence, you must be prepared to refute the allegations and fight the request for a restraining order. With respect to custody and visitation, California law, including Family Code §3044, provides that if domestic violence is established, your rights to have legal and physical custody and visitation with your children will be severely restricted. This is because existing law establishes a rebuttable presumption that sole or joint custody should not be awarded to the party who has been found to have committed domestic violence.

Resisting the allegations and the application for these orders at the outset, with the help of an experienced family law attorney, is crucial if you are innocent of the allegations.

There are high stakes associated with domestic violence charges against you because your parenting rights, reputation, job, and ability to obtain credit are affected by allegations of abuse and criminal charges. Investing in an experienced family law attorney may be worth it because he or she will work to clear you of the charges that will allow you to move forward with your life.

JWB Family Law has an expert team that knows how to gather evidence, to work with a private investigator if necessary, and to prepare your defense for a variety of domestic violence cases. If you’ve been wondering if you should hire a family law attorney, contact us today and we will help you through the process.