Creating A Divorce Safety Plan In Case Of Domestic Abuse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Domestic violence Orange CountyIf you are in danger, call “911” immediately. You are solely responsible for keeping yourself and also your children away from any harm due to domestic violence. You must prepare a safety plan. A safety plan is a scheme which you can execute to keep yourself and your children safe from any kind of domestic violence. It is possible to ask for help to craft a safety plan. Assistance is generally provided free or you will be charged a nominal amount. Multiple language help is available. For more information, contact California Partnership to End Domestic Violence and National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Before an attack and after it

Try to escape when an attack is about to start. In case you are afraid of being mortally harmed, take your children and leave home. Do this even at deep night. Take shelter in a domestic violence center or in the house of a relative or a friend. If you cannot escape, defend yourself. Take photos of all injuries.

Do not hesitate to call for help. Scream loudly and long. There is nothing to feel embarrassed about. The abuser should feel ashamed for abusive behavior. Be close to any door or any practical sized window so that you can exit the house when you want. Stay away from weapons, kitchen and bathroom. If possible, practice your escape route. Know the stairs, elevators, doors and windows through which you can run away. Keep a bag packed at all times. Hide at a place where you can access it swiftly.

Do identify neighbors you can turn for help. Request them to call police when they hear domestic violence being carried out in your home. It is sensible to have “code words” which you can use with your neighbors, children, friends and family. Hearing the code word, they will call police. You should know the destination if you escape from your abusive partner. Trust your instincts and do anything to survive.

Living alone

Change door locks as fast as you can. Put the locks on all doors and windows. You can request your local cell phone provider to give you an unlisted number. Teach your children to be safe during those times when you are unavailable for them. Make sure that your child’s daycare provider or school knows who to allow to pick up your children.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Understanding Domestic Violence Under California Law

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Domestic violence Orange CountyDisagreements are not something unusual in one’s life. After all, it is not possible to agree with someone every time. And yet, when someone constantly feels unsafe or has to continuously live in a state of fear, domestic violence could be a major contributor. Any emotional, mental or physical behavior or act, which can have a negative impact on people living in the house or family members to an extent where they feel afraid, furious or nervous can be regard as an act of domestic violence.

Codes in California defining domestic violence

However, the definition of domestic violence may not be same in all states. Yet, the state of California is somewhat progressive with respect to the treatment of domestic violence incidents. It is also more sensitive with respect to how the court and the police system are directed to handle such cases and the kind of treatments victims of such incidents should get. The law of California has defined an act of domestic violence as an abusive treatment against a minor or an adult who could be a cohabitant, ex-cohabitant, former spouse or spouse. a kid from the individual or a person with whom a victim dated or has been dating according to Penal Code 13700.

California has also defined domestic violence as per the Family Code 6211. Its definition is wider as compared to the penal code. The code makes distinctions between non-criminal and criminal situations of domestic violence.

The domestic violence laws in California attempts to put an end to violence in intimate or familial relationships. It identifies acts of domestic violence if a person commits any type of criminal act within the purview of any relationship defined by the state’s Penal Code as mentioned above. Domestic violence cases are often synonymous with child abuse or abuse of spouses.

If a prosecutor brings a charge of domestic violence against the defendant, multiple sections of the California Penal Code can apply. It is the discretion of a prosecutor to select the kind of criminal charges to follow on the basis of how severe the conduct is and the degree of harm caused to the victim.

Restraining Orders

State laws of California enable domestic violence victims to file for restraining orders and emergency protective orders in criminal as well as civil courts. Issuing a restraining or a protective order does not essentially signify on how much harm is caused to the victim physically. An individual who has gone through acts of emotional abuse or is apprehensive of imminent harm is also eligible for being protected under the legal system of California. For more clarification on California domestic violence, you should contact an Orange County divorce attorney.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

What Are Your Divorce Rights as a Woman?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsEvery state in the country has a different set of laws when it comes to the matters of family law, especially divorce. However, there are certain aspects of a woman’s rights as a wife and a mother in a divorce lawsuit that stay fairly typical across all states. So if you have decided to divorce your husband, you must consult an attorney before filing your petition in the court. An experienced attorney can not only assist you with the proceedings of the litigation but also help you understand and preserve your rights as a woman.

Spousal support

In many cases, where the husband is the primary breadwinner of the family and the couple is no longer cohabiting, the wife has the right to demand temporary financial support even during the period of litigation before the final verdict is announced. The temporary spousal support is referred to as ‘pendente lite’ and stays in effect only until the final decree of divorce is announced by the judge. The pendent lite does not imply that the court will award you permanent alimony provision even after the case is dismissed. However, the temporary support can be extremely useful in making ends meet while the expensive litigation goes on. 

Restraining orders

If your husband tries to harm, threaten, harass or abuse you in any way, you can immediately seek the assistance of the law enforcement officials and request a restraining order against your spouse from the court of law. A restraining order specifies guidelines to restrict the communication from your husband and can even go to the extent of asking him to move out of the marital residence and live elsewhere. In addition to this, if your husband tries to move the children out of the state before the final verdict is announced, you have the right to inform the legal authorities and get him to stop. 

Household expenses

Regardless of whether your husband chooses to stay with you or moves out of your marital home, it is your right to demand his share in the mortgage or rental payments. The court of law makes it mandatory for both the spouses to make an equal contribution towards the payment installments of their marital home. However, such an order is mostly temporary in nature and is issued on ‘pendente lite’ basis as an alternative for spousal support until the final decree of divorce is ordered.

Although it is natural to feel emotionally vulnerable in a grave situation such as a broken marriage, it is advisable to stay put and deal with the situation in a logical way.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Understanding Family Law Emergency Restraining Orders

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Restraining orders Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsNot all family law cases can be mediated and resolved amicably, particularly where domestic violence or child abuse is involved where emergency restraining orders may be necessary to obtain.  Emergency restraining orders are granted only on certain instances such as a threat or an incidence of domestic violence or child abuse, child support and custody disputes, alimony requests and so on. The California Family Court, though, does not term everything under Family Law as an ‘emergency’.

Domestic Violence

If you have been a victim of domestic violence, you should ask your lawyer to file a domestic violence restraining order petition on your behalf and request for a restraining order against your spouse immediately. You will be granted a temporary emergency order till the time of the hearing on the domestic violence case.

During the hearing, you and any other witness will have to testify. Your lawyer will provide the court with documentary evidences. The court will then give a verdict that will either revoke the temporary emergency restraining order or will make it a permanent one. Most attorneys ask for a restraining order of 3 years. If there have been multiple instances of domestic violence, the court can increase it to 5 years.

If you are contesting a restraining order for domestic violence, you need to respond within 24 hours or less of receiving the notification. You will be barred from contacting and communicating with your spouse and children. You may also have to pay a support amount. You need to provide the court with evidences and testimonies from witnesses that prove you have not carried out the alleged act of domestic violence. You should declare your innocence under oath before the hearing.

Child abuse

An emergency restraining order for child abuse will immediately withdraw all visitation rights of the accused parent. Allegations of child abuse include instances of physical, sexual and extreme emotional abuse. Cases of emotional abuse are difficult to prove. Any parent filing a restraining order for child abuse should enlist the help of the local police and the child protective services.

If you are contesting a restraining order for child abuse, you must respond immediately and with great caution. You must gather witnesses for testimony. You must ask the court to appoint a forensic psychological evaluator and ask the alleging parent to depose.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation