What constitutes domestic violence in California?

domestic violence

During divorce proceedings, the topic of domestic violence and its impact on a relationship is commonly brought up by one or both parties. Domestic violence in California is a term that refers to abuse or threats of abuse between people who either have or recently had intimate relationships and people who are related by blood or by marriage.

Abuse can be defined in many ways, including:

  • Physical violence against another person that’s either intentional or due to reckless behavior
    • Common acts of physical abuse that are considered domestic violence include hitting, kicking, shoving, pushing, and pulling
  • Sexual assault
  • Causing someone to fear for his or her safety due to threats of violence
  • Harassing behaviors like stalking and destroying personal property, internet stalking, internet impersonating and violence to pets

In addition, abuse can also include behaviors that have harmful psychological effects on another person. Acts of intimidation, attempts to exert power and control, and tactics that cause people to suffer emotional harm can also be considered abuse, and therefore domestic violence, in the state of California.

Who can be charged with domestic violence?

Relationship scenarios in California where abuse and threats of abuse can be considered domestic violence include:

  • Married couples
  • Domestic partners
  • Dating couples
  • People who previously dated
  • People who are currently living together
  • People who previously lived together
  • People who have a child together
  • People who are related, either by blood or by marriage

When these relationship conditions are met and an act of violence or threats of violence occur, a person can be charged with domestic violence in California.

What happens when someone is a victim of domestic violence?

One of the most common outcomes of domestic violence is the filing of a restraining order by the person who felt threatened or was physically harmed. Restraining orders can be filed in California if two conditions are met:

  • Physical, emotional, or psychological abuse is occurring or is threatened to occur between two people
  • There is a close relationship between both parties involved

Restraining orders severely limit or completely eliminate contact between two parties and can also have a major effect on the outcome of divorces, including requiring the person who received the restraining order to be restricted regarding child custody and visitation orders, pay child support, and pay spousal support.