Domestic Violence

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Understanding Domestic Violence Cases in CA

If you or somebody you know is currently suffering from domestic violence, please consider contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-787-3224 or texting "START" to 88788. If you're in Kern County, this list of resources may also be helpful. Stay safe. 

Domestic violence cases can be challenging to navigate, particularly if you're not sure what your options are concerning protections you may be able to receive.

At Divorced By Design, our Kern County domestic violence lawyers can help you pursue the best outcome in your case, working with you to explore options such as obtaining different types of protective orders.

To schedule a consultation with our Bakersfield domestic violence lawyer and receive the help and support you deserve for your domestic violence case, contact us online or via phone at (661) 760-2872

Understanding Domestic Violence in CA

Under California law, if a current or former partner, co-parent, cohabitant, or family member conducts one of the following acts against you, it qualifies as an act of domestic violence:

  • Causes you physical injury, or attempts to do so. This includes actions such as striking, molesting, battering, or attacking you;
  • Commits or attempts to commit an act of sexual assault against you;
  • Threatens you or harasses you, in person or through other means such as via phone calls, emails, texts, and social media messages;
  • Disturbs your peace on your property, including coercing you into isolating yourself from support systems, friends and family, depriving you of your basic needs, or attempting to control, regulate, or monitor your actions in some other way, either by force or through emotional abuse; or
  • Stalks you.

If an individual commits the following acts against you, you may be able to receive a restraining order against them.

How Domestic Violence Can Impact Family Court Cases

In California, domestic violence can significantly impact family court cases in several ways:

  • Child Custody and Visitation: If domestic violence has occurred within the family, particularly in the presence of children, it can heavily influence decisions regarding child custody and visitation rights. The court's primary concern is the safety and well-being of the children involved. Evidence of domestic violence can result in limitations or restrictions on the abusive parent's visitation rights or even supervised visitation arrangements. Courts may also consider the impact of witnessing domestic violence on the children's emotional and psychological health.
  • Protective Orders: California courts can issue protective orders, also known as restraining orders, to protect victims of domestic violence and their children. These orders can prohibit the abusive party from contacting or approaching the victim and may include other provisions to ensure the safety of the victim and any children involved. Violation of a protective order can have serious legal consequences.
  • Spousal Support: In California, domestic violence can also impact decisions related to spousal support (alimony). If one spouse has been abusive toward the other, it can affect the amount and duration of spousal support awarded. The court may consider the impact of the abuse on the victim's ability to support themselves financially and may adjust spousal support accordingly.
  • Property Division: During divorce proceedings, the court divides marital property and assets. Domestic violence can be a factor in this division, particularly if the abuse has resulted in economic harm to one spouse or if there are concerns about the equitable distribution of assets due to the abusive behavior.
  • Evidence and Testimony: Evidence of domestic violence, such as police reports, medical records, witness statements, and photographs, can be presented in family court to support allegations of abuse or to contest false accusations. Testimony from the victim, witnesses, and other relevant parties may also be considered.
  • Criminal Charges: In cases of severe domestic violence, criminal charges may be filed against the abuser. A criminal conviction can have significant implications for family court proceedings, including custody and visitation arrangements.

How Do I File a Restraining Order?

Filing a restraining order is not often a decision lightly made. The way in which a restraining order is filed is typically dependent on the unique circumstances of the occurence that led to filing a restraining order. In California, survivors/victims of domestic violence can receive one of the following types of protective orders:

  • Emergency protective order (EPO). Emergency protective orders are typically issued at the site of domestic violence occurrences. If a law enforcement professional (LEP) shows up to a disturbance and believes a restraining order is necessary, they can contact a judge, who will immediately issue an EPO. Judges typically only issue EPOs if they believe an individual is at immediate risk of suffering further violence if an EPO is not issued.
  • Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). If you are suffering from domestic violence, you can go to a local court and apply for a restraining order. If the judge presiding over the case believes you are at risk of further harm if you do not receive a restraining order, they can issue a TRO to protect you until the court arranges a full hearing for your case, even if the other party isn't present at the time the TRO is issued. After issuing a TRO, courts typically try to establish a hearing within three weeks.
  • Permanent Protective Order (PPO). At the hearing, both parties have the opportunity to present their cases to the court. After hearing from both parties, the court will decide whether to issue a PPO. Despite the moniker, PPOs are often not permanent - by default, they last three years in California, although they can last as many as five if the court deems it necessary. However, if you believe you are still at risk at the time your PPO is about to expire, you can request an extension. The court will review your case, after which it will decide whether an extension is necessary.

What Can a Restraining Order Do for Me?

Obtaining a restraining order has a wide range of benefits for individuals suffering from domestic violence. Obtaining a restraining order could:

  • Order the alleged abuser to leave any property you share with them;
  • Prevent the alleged abuser from coming within a certain distance of you at any time;
  • Prevent the alleged abuser from coming within a certain distance of your family;
  • Order the alleged abuser to relinquish custody of your children;
  • Order the alleged abuser to relinquish control of certain items, such as guns, that could be used to perpetrate further harm;
  • And more.

At Divorced By Design, our Kern County domestic violence attorneys have experience helping survivors/victims of domestic violence pursue and obtain a wide range of domestic orders. We'll work with you to ensure you pursue an outcome in your domestic violence case that enables you to thrive.

To schedule a consultation with our Bakersfield domestic violence lawyer or learn more about our services, contact us online or via phone at (661) 760-2872

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    “I highly recommend Garrett Rice if you need a divorce attorney. Divorce can be chaotic and stressful but not with him. He’s a man of his word and he takes the worry out of this process. his office is very responsive and they are with you every step of the way! Garrett goes above and beyond!!!”

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  • Whether you need your divorce handled with white gloves or a shark in the court Garrett is your man!

    “Mr. Rice is an amazing lawyer not only was he efficient he listened to my needs and the needs of my children and executed them perfectly in court. He’s a no-nonsense lawyer with a proven track record. Whether you need your divorce handled with white gloves or a shark in the court Garrett is your man! I will definitely recommend him to any and everyone I know! I’ve had 2 other lawyers in Bakersfield and no one is even close to as good as him. He’s the smartest person in the room by far and doesn’t accept the games played in family court.”

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  • Garrett is a very compassionate and understanding attorney

    “Garrett is a very compassionate and understanding attorney. He is not in it for the money but only for the best interest of you and your family. He will not give you false hopes during the case. Garrett is always prepared for court, speaks very direct, dresses very nicely and is presentable for court, and is highly favored by the judges. Every time we went to court we received the results we wanted and he did all the talking. He defends you in and out of court when the other side wants to get out of line. I love that he gives his clients his direct number and you can contact him directly whenever. We are very seasoned with the attorneys here in Bakersfield, and 98% of them are money hungry, have no interest in your case (but they will fake it to get your money), and will continue your case for years which equals thousands of dollars you will never see again. So! If you are looking for an attorney who will get the job done and genuinely cares about you or are debating changing attorneys because they fall in that 98% category, GARRETT IS YOUR MAN! You’ll thank me later 😉”

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