How Does the California Family Court Address Criminal Behavior?
It’s unfortunate that thousands of people across the United States experience various forms of domestic violence each year. Many victims endure protracted periods of extended abuse, and others suffer acute traumatic injuries from domestic violence. In the event you or a loved one has experienced domestic violence of any kind, the incident is likely to generate many possible legal proceedings in different areas of law.
The state enforces strict criminal codes that outline penalties for domestic violence-related offenses, so anyone who commits an act of domestic violence is likely to face prosecution in a California criminal court. Additionally, domestic violence can easily be a precursor to a divorce and a child custody determination. When a spouse and/or parent has committed domestic violence, they face criminal charges and severe repercussions through the family court system.
When domestic violence results in damages, the victim has the right to pursue compensation for the losses the defendant caused. If your domestic violence incident resulted in medical expenses, lost income from inability to work, and pain and suffering, you would have grounds for a civil claim against your abuser. Ultimately, an act of domestic violence is likely to have repercussions in criminal, civil, and family law.
Potential Consequences of Domestic Violence in Family Law
Domestic violence occurs in many ways, and when the police address an incident of domestic violence, they have a legal duty to prevent further harm to the victim. Therefore, they will remove the aggressor from the situation and create a formal report of their initial findings. At this point, the state may open a criminal case and file charges against the aggressor, and the victim may also initiate a civil claim for damages. Depending on the relationship between the aggressor and the victim, the incident could also easily generate very complex family court proceedings.
If your domestic violence experience has led to divorce, a custody determination, or any other family court proceedings, an experienced family law attorney is the most important asset to have on your side. Even if fault seems perfectly clear in your case, it is best to have an attorney represent you in the difficult proceedings ahead. This alleviates your stress and increases the chances that you will reach a favorable final outcome for your case.
Domestic violence is likely to lead to a very strict restraining order against the defendant. They will likely be subject to a “No Contact” order, meaning they will be forbidden from trying to contact the victim in any way. The order will also prohibit them from going near the victim’s home, workplace, or their child’s school or daycare. Each restraining order is carefully tailored to the unique needs of the victim. If the subject of the order violates its terms in any way, they face incarceration, heavy fines, and a host of other possible penalties at the discretion of the judge handling their case.
Q: What Should I Do After Experiencing Domestic Violence?
A: You should call the police to report the incident as soon as possible and file an honest and accurate report of your experience. After the police provide initial instructions and help you secure a temporary restraining order, it’s a good idea to consult an experienced family law attorney who can prepare you for the next steps in your case.
Q: Can a Parent Lose Child Custody Rights for Breaking the Law?
A: Involuntary termination of parental rights is a possible consequence for any parent who has abused a child, engaged in domestic violence, or if a family court judge has any other clear reason to assume the parent would be a danger to their child. Involuntary loss of custody rights may also follow a criminal conviction for various offenses, even if it did not involve the child or other family members.
Q: How Can a Parent Regain Lost Custody or Visitation Rights in California?
A: When a parent has lost their custody and visitation rights through involuntary termination, it is almost impossible for them to ever regain any measure of those lost rights. The only possible exceptions would be cases involving advanced substance abuse disorders and mental health conditions. If the parent can prove they have rehabilitated, their child’s custodial parent may be willing to consider limited and supervised visitation. However, such decisions almost always rest in the hands of custodial parents, and most parents who lose their custody and visitation rights will have no legal recourse to reobtain them in any way.
Q: Can You Go to Jail for Violating a Family Court Order in California?
A: Any willful violation of a lawful family court order can easily lead to a host of serious penalties, including incarceration for severe offenses. For example, an individual convicted of domestic violence will likely spend time in county jail for a misdemeanor conviction or in state prison for a felony. A judge may also order a parent to jail for failure or refusal to pay child support.
Q: Do I Need an Attorney to Get a Restraining Order?
A: If you call the police to report domestic violence, the responding officers can help you secure a temporary restraining order from the local family court. This temporary order will protect you and remain in place until a hearing, and at this hearing, a judge will decide whether to make the order permanent or rescind it. It is always best to have legal counsel for your domestic violence hearing to ensure the highest levels of legal protection for you and your family.
No one should have to experience domestic violence of any kind, but when it does occur, victims need to know where they can turn for help and legal guidance. The attorneys at Bickford Blado & Botros have helped many clients navigate very challenging family court proceedings, including many cases involving all types of domestic violence. Our goal is to help you approach your case with greater confidence. Contact us today and schedule a consultation to learn more about the various ways we can help you with your recovery.
Feel Free to Contact Our Office with Any Questions