Domestic Violence and Child Custody in California: What You Need to Know

domestic violence

Domestic violence is a pervasive issue affecting millions of families worldwide. In the United States, California is known to have some of the strictest laws regarding domestic violence, particularly in matters related to child custody.

Domestic violence can significantly impact child custody decisions, and it’s vital for parents involved in these cases to understand how the law works. This article will explore how domestic violence may affect child custody in California.

Defining Domestic Violence in California

Before we dive into how domestic violence can impact child custody cases in California, it is essential to understand what constitutes domestic violence under the state’s laws. California defines domestic violence as abuse or threats of abuse between people with close relationships.

The abuse can take many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, financial, and psychological. Domestic violence can occur between spouses or domestic partners, parents and children, and other family members.

Domestic Violence and Child Custody in California

When it comes to child custody, California courts must consider the best interests of the child. The courts must protect the child’s health, safety, and welfare. Domestic violence can significantly impact a child’s well-being, which can be critical in determining child custody arrangements.

California courts recognize that domestic violence can have long-lasting effects on children. For example, witnessing violence in the home can lead to anxiety, depression, and other psychological issues. In addition, children who are exposed to domestic violence are also at higher risk of experiencing abuse themselves. 

As such, the courts take allegations of domestic violence very seriously and are willing to take strong action to protect children. They will not only take into consideration abuse to the child themselves but also any abuse against:

  • Another child in their care
  • The child’s other parent
  • The abuser’s current spouse, roommate, dating partner
  • Any other family member of the abuser

Impact of Domestic Violence on Child Custody Decisions

In California, there is a presumption that it is not in the best interests of the child to be placed in the custody of a parent with a history of domestic violence. This means that if one parent has been found to have committed domestic violence, the court will presume that it is not in the child’s best interests to be in that parent’s custody.

However, the accused can rebut this presumption by showing that placing the child in their custody is, in fact, in the child’s best interests. In addition, the parent must provide evidence that they have completed a batterer’s intervention program, counseling, or therapy and are not a danger to the child.

It is also worth noting that the court may order supervised visitation if a parent has a history of domestic violence. The parent can still see the child, but a court-appointed monitor must supervise the visits. The monitor’s role is to ensure the child’s safety and well-being during the visit.

In cases with allegations of domestic violence but no finding of fault, the court will consider various factors to determine child custody arrangements. These factors may include the relationship between the child and each parent, each parent’s ability to fulfill the child’s needs, and any other relevant factors.

Protective Orders and Child Custody

In many cases, a victim of domestic violence may obtain a protective order to protect themselves and their children from further harm. A protective order is a court order that requires the abuser to stay away from the victim and their children. In California, a protective order can also address child custody and visitation.

If a protective order is in place, the court may order that the abuser have no contact with the victim or the children or that the abuser’s contact with the children is supervised. The court may also order that the abuser stay away from the children’s school or other places where the children are likely to be found.

Azemika & Azemika, Family Law Attorneys in Bakersfield, California

If you are a victim of domestic violence or have been accused of committing domestic violence, it’s crucial to seek legal advice from an experienced family law attorney. It’s also essential as a parent to prioritize the well-being of your children above all else.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, take the necessary steps to obtain a protective order, and seek counseling or therapy for you and your children. There are resources available for victims of domestic violence, including shelters, counseling services, and legal assistance. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, seek help immediately.

At Azemika & Azemika, the needs of the children in a divorce or separation become our utmost priority. Our expert team of family law attorneys can help you understand the laws and procedures when navigating child custody issues in California.

Contact us today for a consultation.

Domestic Violence and Alimony in California

domestic violence

Domestic violence is a serious issue affecting millions of people annually in the United States. Statistics show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Domestic violence can significantly impact many aspects of a victim’s life, including their ability to receive alimony in California.

California is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning a spouse doesn’t have to prove the other spouse did anything wrong to file for divorce. Because of this, the court will not consider who was at fault for the divorce. So even if domestic violence occurred, they would still split all assets and debts evenly.

The major exception is when it comes to issuing alimony. This article will explain how alimony works in California and how domestic violence can affect alimony.

What is Domestic Violence in California?

In California, domestic violence is defined as abuse or threats of abuse between spouses, former spouses, cohabitants, and a couple in a dating relationship. Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse.

What is Alimony?

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a court-ordered payment made from one spouse to another after a divorce. Spousal support provides financial assistance to the lower-earning spouse and helps them maintain the same standard of living they had during the marriage. The court will consider the following factors of each spouse when awarding alimony.

  • Length of the marriage
  • Overall health and age
  • Non-financial contributions
  • Current income
  • Earning potential
  • Education and training
  • Work history
  • Marketable skills

The court will also look at the ability of the paying spouse to provide alimony, and whether there is evidence of domestic violence. When domestic violence is involved, the court is required by law to consider any documented evidence of domestic violence when making an alimony determination. And they will never order a spouse to pay alimony to an abuser. (California Family Law Section 4320(i))

The Impact of Domestic Violence on Alimony in California

When domestic violence is a factor in a divorce, the court will consider several factors when determining spousal support. These factors include:

  • The severity and duration of the abuse
  • The impact of the abuse on the victim’s physical and emotional well-being
  • The victim’s ability to earn a living.

If a domestic violence victims cannot work due to the abuse, they may be awarded spousal support to help them get back on their feet. The court may also order the abuser to pay for any medical bills or therapy expenses related to the abuse.

In addition to affecting the amount of spousal support awarded, domestic violence can also impact the duration of spousal support. As mentioned above, alimony is determined by considering multiple factors. However, when domestic violence is involved, the court may order spousal support to be paid for an extended period.

This is because domestic violence can impact a victim’s ability to earn a living and maintain their standard of living. The court may also order spousal support to be paid indefinitely if the victim cannot become self-supporting due to the abuse.

False Allegations of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence allegations are taken very seriously, and false allegations can have serious consequences. For example, there can be legal and financial consequences if someone has been found to have made a false allegation of domestic violence to gain an advantage in divorce or custody cases.

Azemika & Azemika, Family Law Attorneys in Kern County

Domestic violence can have a significant impact on alimony in California. The court takes allegations of domestic violence very seriously, and it is crucial to seek legal guidance if you are a victim or an abuser facing allegations. Domestic violence can affect both the amount and duration of spousal support, and in some cases, the court may even deny spousal support to an abusive spouse.

Suppose you are a victim of domestic violence and are seeking spousal support. In that case, it is essential to speak with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the legal process. In addition, a family law attorney can help you gather evidence of the abuse, file for a restraining order if necessary, and ensure your rights are protected throughout the divorce process.

If you are an abuser facing allegations of domestic violence, it is essential to speak with an attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities. An attorney can also help you address any issues related to domestic violence, such as attending counseling or anger management classes.

If you’re going through a divorce and are a victim of domestic violence or have been accused of domestic violence, turn to the expert team of family law attorneys at Azemika & Azemika. We will fight for you and protect you and your family during the separation and divorce.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Remarrying After Divorce in California

remarrying after divorce

When a marriage is over, and a couple has decided to divorce, the relationship is likely already over in their minds, making divorce a formality to some people. Whether you met someone new during the divorce process or someone else was the reason for the divorce, you may wonder if there’s a certain amount of time that you have to wait to remarry after a divorce in California.

Even if remarrying may not be on your radar when you decide to get divorced, you may find someone that makes you want to marry sometime in the future. This article will explain the divorce process in California, the conditions that must be met before you can remarry in California, and the effects of getting remarried on your divorce settlement.

An Overview of the Divorce Process in California

It typically takes about six months to finalize a divorce, although it could take longer, depending on your situation. There are four main steps in the divorce process in California.

  1. Start the Divorce — The first step is for one spouse to file divorce papers and officially notify the other. After the other spouse has been notified, they have 30 days to respond.
  2. Share Financial Information — Next, both spouses must share their financial information. You will use this information to divide assets and debts equally and decide on spousal and child support. This information doesn’t have to be filed with the court. You only have to share it with your spouse, then file a form letting the courts know this step has been completed.
  3. Divide Assets and Debts — You and your spouse can work together to agree on dividing assets and debts. If you can’t agree, the court will make this decision.
  4. The Divorce is Finalized — A final set of forms must be completed and submitted to the court, along with any agreements and court orders. The judge will review everything and sign off on the judgment. The judgment will list the exact date of the end of your marriage.

Conditions That Must Be Met to Remarry after Divorce

The only condition that must be met for you to remarry is that your divorce must be finalized. Until your divorce is finalized, you are still legally married, and bigamy is a crime punishable by up to three years in jail in California.

That means that even if you’re ready to move on right away, you’re still looking at at least six months (the time it takes for your divorce to be finalized) or longer before you can remarry. This six-month time is considered a cool-down period.

How Getting Remarried Affects Your Divorce Settlement

When you or your ex remarry, some of the agreements involved in your divorce will change. This is especially true if one party was ordered to pay child or spousal support. In addition, remarriage changes one’s financial situation, which could justify modifying your divorce settlement.

Effects on Spousal Support

Spousal support payments end when the receiving spouse remarries in California. Spousal support is intended to assist the receiving spouse financially after the marriage, so when that spouse remarries, the responsibility ends. However, if the paying spouse gets remarried, they must continue paying spousal support.

This does not require a modification of the divorce settlement, so neither party is required to take any action to stop payments. However, when the receiving spouse gets remarried, they are legally obligated to inform the paying spouse of the marriage.

Effects on Child Support

Child support payments are intended to support the child, not the receiving parent. Therefore, child support payments will likely not be affected if either parent remarries.

If the remarriage changes the financial status of the paying parent, it could, however, prompt a modification of the support payments. For example, if the paying parent is now responsible for supporting their new spouse’s children, their financial situation may require that child support payments be adjusted.

Effects on Child Custody

Sometimes, when a parent remarries, they may request changes to child custody. For example, they may need to relocate. That would require them to agree to a change in custody, or permission from the other parent. 

Azemika & Azemika, Bakersfield Divorce Attorneys

Ultimately, the decision to remarry should be based on your circumstances and needs. However, if you do decide to remarry, it’s essential to consider the legal implications and take steps to ensure you are protected.

At Azemika & Azemika, we understand that although divorce can be a difficult and emotional time, it can also come with the prospect of starting a new life and finding the love you thought you found in your first marriage. Our partners have over two decades of experience dealing with some of the most challenging, high-asset family law cases in Kern County. Our dedicated team will keep you apprised of the status of your case so that you can make informed decisions during the divorce process that will put you on the path to a better post-divorce future.
For comprehensive representation in your divorce or dissolution, contact us today.