Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

Understanding Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is insidious in nature and often a burden silently carried by its victims. Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri aids in giving a voice to those who are suffering and fights for their safety. 

If you are confused if your experience is classified as domestic violence, then you are not alone. Domestic violence is not just limited to physically attacking another person but can include other actions that are made to purposely to invoke fear or assert control. If you are afraid for your or your children’s safety, then you may be a victim of domestic violence.

Domestic violence takes many malicious forms, such as:

  • Physical abuse such as hitting, slapping, biting, kicking, shoving, and burning, and other acts of violence. This also includes forcing someone to consume drugs or alcohol, or denying a person necessary medical treatment
  • Sexual abuse, such as forced sexual acts and acts related to sex that are performed without the victim’s conscious consent. It is important to note that even people who are dating or married can be victims of sexual abuse if the sexual acts are unwanted and forceful 
  • Emotional or psychological abuse, such as extremely antagonizing or demeaning someone to the extent that it is interfering with the victim’s daily functioning or invoking extreme fear in a person such as trying to prohibit them to leave the house
  • Economic abuse, such as when an abuser makes a victim financially dependent on them by seizing control of their shared financial resources or preventing the victim from attending school or going to work
  • Destroying a person’s personal property, which includes financial assets and businesses
  • Threatening to injure the victim or a person close to the victim such as their child or other immediate family members
  • Other forms of harassment such as stalking or cyberstalking a victim

In order for the abuse to be considered domestic violence, the abuser must be a person that the victim has a close relationship with. This includes:

  • A spouse or ex-spouse of the victim
  • A person that the victim is dating or has a sexual relationship with
  • The parent of the victim’s children
  • A roommate of the victim
  • Another close family member of the victim such as a sibling or grandparent

If the abuser does not meet the above criteria, then it is recommended to file a civil restraining order, which places similar restrictions on a restrained person but applies to people who are not closely related.

Domestic violence in a marriage often ends in a divorce. Due to the legal complexity of acts of domestic violence, it is highly advised to hire a domestic violence attorney to help protect you or your loved ones from harm.

Allegations of domestic violence can dramatically affect almost any issue associated with a divorce. From child custody to spousal support, the courts tend to favor in the interests of the abused spouse over the abuser.

Although domestic violence is different than child abuse, judges understand the negative impacts that domestic violence has on children who witness or hear domestic violence in their homes. In extreme cases of domestic violence, the psychological impact on children is similar to the impact on children who are abused. This means that most judges make decisions about custodial arrangements with the mindset that domestic violence negatively influences children. 

It is important to remember that it is the judge’s main goal to determine an arrangement that is in the best interests of the children, which means that an abuser can be granted custody when appropriate.

Judges also understand that people can make positive and lasting changes in their behavior, and consider the length of time that has elapsed since the occurrence of domestic violence. Judes will also consider past behavior and look over the terms of the parole or probation to determine if the abuser has followed the terms of the sentencing. 

If the domestic violence is part of a pattern of regular violent behavior, or if the person did not complete their court-ordered programs, then it will be difficult for the person to obtain custodial rights, and they may only qualify for limited visitation rights. Limited visitation means that the parent will only be allowed to visit with their children under strict circumstances such as under the supervision of a court-ordered supervisor, or the parent will not be allowed to have the children spend the night. Additionally, limited visitation typically means that the parent will not be allowed to visit their children as frequently as they hoped.

Domestic violence also has significant impacts on the details of divorce litigation, particularly if the abuser seized control of their finances and took away their spouse’s financial freedom. Taking away a spouse’s financial freedom includes incidents in which the abuser had absolute control over their financial assets, or prohibited the victim from working, attending school, or completing a workforce training program. 

The Importance of Hiring an Experienced Domestic Violence Attorney

For more than 25 years, our attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri in San Jose have handled complex divorce cases involving domestic violence. If you are looking for an attorney, contact our law firm today — we offer clients a free initial consultation.

We recognize that domestic violence is a serious issue. More than 200,000 reports of domestic violence occur in California each year. Equally troubling is the number of false allegations made to gain the upper hand in a child custody dispute. While our attorneys are ready to aggressively obtain restraining orders for domestic violence victims, we are also fully prepared to defend clients against false domestic violence claims. Our attorneys are ready to aggressively obtain restraining orders to protect domestic violence victims.

A domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) is a civil order that offers protection for victims of domestic violence. A DVRO can order an abuser to leave the victim’s home, not make any contact with the victim, not come in close proximity to the victim’s home or work, stay away from the victim’s children or family, not stalk the victim, and not threaten or physically harm the victim. There are many types of DVROs and it is highly advised to speak with a reputable domestic violence lawyer to understand your best steps toward protecting your rights.

We are also fully prepared to defend clients against false domestic violence claims. The “fear of harm” is a vague term and sometimes the feelings of animosity that divorce creates can cause people to consider an escalated argument to be a physical threat. Even worse, there are people who take advantage of the severity of a domestic violence charge and make a false accusation, making the alleged abuser the victim.

A false domestic violence claim can harm a spouse’s financial assets, parental rights, and reputation. If you feel that your spouse’s accusations do not reflect the reality of the situation, then it is vital that you hire an experienced domestic violence lawyer to protect your rights.

Our lawyers in San Jose and Santa Clara have significant experience litigating cases involving domestic violence. This often involves obtaining and examining police and hospital records to either substantiate or refute claims of domestic violence. In addition, we have experience in obtaining records from various social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram, which can be instrumental in effectively defending false allegations of domestic violence. 

Our goal is to fully understand the nature of the abuse and to analyze its overall effect on the divorce process. As one of the largest family law firms in the Bay Area, we have the resources necessary for high asset and complex divorce litigation, making us your best choice for your domestic violence litigation.

No-Fault Divorce State

California is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that couples may obtain a divorce without having to prove that one side was responsible for causing the marriage to end. Nevertheless, allegations of domestic violence often result in either side filing for a divorce and can greatly affect the outcome of child custody and spousal support determinations. Our attorneys have represented many clients with domestic abuse concerns and helped them protect their interests regarding child support, spousal support, and property division.

Speak With a Domestic Violence Attorney

If you are struggling with a domestic violence claim in San Jose or Santa Clara, please do not hesitate to request a free consultation. During the consultation, you will learn how a domestic violence attorney can help you in your legal fight. LPEP has decades of experience in complex family law litigation and is one of the largest family law firms in San Jose. We have the motivation and resources for successful and efficient litigation to protect your rights. We have the experience to help with your domestic violence case whether it be helping you set up a protective restraining order as we prepare for litigation or disproving false claims of domestic violence. We provide the attention your case deserves. Get the help you need today.