Domestic violence is abuse or threats of abuse when the person being abused and the abuser are or have been in an intimate relationship (married or domestic partners, are dating or used to date, live or lived together, or have a child together). It is also when the abused person and the abusive person are closely related by blood or by marriage
Family Code § 6211 defines “Domestic violence” as:
“Domestic violence” is abuse perpetrated against any of the following persons:
(a) A spouse or former spouse.
(b) A cohabitant or former cohabitant, as defined in Section 6209.
(c) A person with whom the respondent is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.
(d) A person with whom the respondent has had a child, where the presumption applies that the male parent is the father of the child of the female parent under the Uniform Parentage Act (Part 3 (commencing with Section 7600) of Division 12).
(e) A child of a party or a child who is the subject of an action under the Uniform Parentage Act, where the presumption applies that the male parent is the father of the child to be protected.
(f) Any other person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree.
In California, the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (“DVPA”) authorizes a trial court to issue a restraining order for the purpose of preventing a recurrence of domestic violence and ensuring a period of separation of the persons involved, upon a showing of proof of a past act or acts of abuse.
Family Code § 6203 defines “Abuse” as:
(a) For purposes of this act, “abuse” means any of the following:
(1) To intentionally or recklessly cause or attempt to cause bodily injury.
(2) Sexual assault.
(3) To place a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another.
(4) To engage in any behavior that has been or could be enjoined pursuant to Section 6320.
(b) Abuse is not limited to the actual infliction of physical injury or assault.
The physical abuse is not just hitting. Abuse can be kicking, shoving, pushing, pulling hair, throwing things, scaring or following you, or keeping you from freely coming and going. It can even include physical abuse of family pets.
Further “Abuse” in domestic violence does not have to be physical. Abuse can be verbal, emotional, or psychological. You do not have to be physically hit to be abused. Often, abuse takes many forms, and abusers use a combination of tactics to control and have power over the person being abused.
It is important to seek the assistance of a California family law attorney if you have been accused of an act of domestic violence in the family law court or are the victim of domestic violence. Further, if you have been convicted of domestic violence in criminal court, you should not have to suffer additional consequences in family court.