Allegations of domestic violence are very serious. If true, they affect the victim not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. If untrue, the person against whom the allegations were made is called upon to defend him/herself in a spurious proceeding. In addition to it being a civil matter, California also imposes criminal liability on persons who have perpetrated domestic violence and who have violated an abuse prevention order.
At the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., we provide knowledgeable and caring yet aggressive and effective representation for our clients in the San Francisco Bay Area. Whether you are alleging that you and/or your child is the victim of domestic violence, or you are facing accusations of such abuse, we have years of experience and are well-equipped to counsel clients on abuse prevention orders. When you entrust your case to us, we will take the immediate steps necessary to ensure that your rights are protected.
California defines “domestic violence” as abuse perpetrated against a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, or former cohabitant. Abuse inflicted by one’s current or former dating partner or fiancé/fiancée is also domestic violence, as is abuse committed against the parent of a child by the other parent. California also extends its recognition of domestic violence to abuse committed by extended family members, provided the abuser and the victim are related in the second degree by either blood or marriage.
We can counsel you through the complicated legal waters of domestic violence prevention in California.
The California Prevention of Domestic Violence statutes are designed to prevent abuse between family members, household members, and dating couples. The statutes protect both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Victims of domestic violence may request that the court issue a protective order to prevent future abuse. A parent may apply for the order on behalf of a child, or the child, if age 12 or older, may appear in court and independently seek such an order.
Pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence statute, the following persons may obtain a protective order:
- A person who is in immediate and present danger of domestic violence
- A child who is in immediate and present danger of abuse by a family or household member
- A child who is in immediate and present danger of being abducted by a parent or relative
- An elder or dependent adult who is in immediate and present danger of abuse
The Family Code permits the issuance of protective orders and other domestic violence prevention orders not only to increase the security of the victim, but also to provide a legal mechanism for holding the abuser accountable for his or her actions. If an abuser violates a protective order, the abuser may be jailed and punished in accordance with the California Penal Code.
Protective orders enjoining domestic violence in family law matters may be issued by the court on an ex parte basis (where only the alleged victim appears before a judge). The alleged victim must file a declaration setting forth “reasonable proof” that an act of abuse occurred. Once a temporary order has been issued, a hearing will be held. Based on the evidence and testimony presented at the hearing, the judge will determine whether a final protective order should be issued. Final orders may be issued for up to five years.
If abuse is imminent and the court is not open, a victim of domestic violence may request the help of a law enforcement officer to obtain an emergency protective order. The law enforcement officer must specifically request that a judicial officer issue the emergency protective order. This type of domestic violence prevention order remains in effect for five judicial business days after it was issued, and not more than seven calendar days.
Protective orders may enjoin specific conduct and acts of abuse, exclude a person from a home, and enjoin other specific behavior necessary to ensure that the orders preventing abuse are upheld. Final protective orders may also include provisions for child custody and visitation, child and spousal support, and attorney fees and costs.
Either party may request that the court modify these orders, or the parties may stipulate to a modification. The victim of domestic violence may also request that a protective order be renewed.
Responsive Representation For A Serious And Urgent Issue
To speak with a family law attorney in San Francisco about restraining orders and options available for protection from domestic abuse, please call us at 415.834.1120 for a confidential consultation. At the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., we can counsel you through the complicated legal waters of domestic violence prevention in California. We offer assistance in obtaining and defending against protective orders, as well as modifying existing protective orders.