Contact Us (408) 416-3149


Legal Options for Victims of Spousal Abuse

Posted by Ahluwalia Law Professional Corporation | Apr 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

Many California spouses are currently going through a situation similar to this fictitious scenario:

It's been obvious for a while now that your marriage isn't working. It started with a small sense that something wasn't right, that something changed about your husband after you two married and moved in together. Over time, the two of you spend less time together. Then came the verbal abuse. Before it went too far, you thought it best to go ahead and petition the court for a divorce. 

When you broke the news to your husband that you wanted to divorce, he snapped and struck you across your face. You had a sinking feeling that your marriage would eventually devolve into physical violence, but now that you're a victim, you feel trapped and helpless. Thankfully, you are able to leave your house and head to a family member's house close by. You have called the domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Now what?

Restraining Orders

One of the most effective tools for victims of domestic violence are restraining orders, sometimes referred to as protective orders. If you have children that are being abused by your partner, you may also file a restraining order on behalf of them. Restraining orders can accomplish a variety of things, most notably prohibiting your abusive spouse from coming within a certain distance of you, your children, or your pets. It can also mandate that your spouse must move out of your home, forfeit his firearms, and return certain property, among other things. 

There are four different types of restraining orders in California:

  • Emergency protective order. This is a protective order that can be requested by responding police officers. It can last up to seven days.
  • Temporary restraining order. You must petition a judge to place this on your partner. It will last until a court hearing that determines whether or not the restraining order should be permanent (often 20-25 days). 
  • Permanent restraining order. At the court hearing stemming from a temporary restraining order, a judge might order the protective order to be permanent; however, permanent orders must be renewed every five years.
  • Criminal protective order. A district attorney might seek domestic violence charges against an individual; while the trial is in progress, a judge might issue this type of protective order. If a conviction is obtained, the criminal protective order can last up the three years. 

Domestic Violence and Divorce

California is a no-fault state, which means that couples do not need a specific reason or catalyst for divorcing. Throughout the divorce process, allegations of domestic violence do not generally play a huge part when deciding property division or other terms of the agreement. One exception, though, is in the case of spousal support. 

If your spouse has a conviction for domestic violence within five years of going through your divorce, then there is a rebuttable presumption that he does not need to be awarded any support payments. This means it is up to your spouse to convince the court that he does, in fact, deserve support payments.

Contact Ahluwalia Law, P.C.

The current health crisis is forcing many couples to stay indoors. A heartbreaking byproduct of these stay-at-home orders is the inevitable increase in domestic violence. Our firm is well-equipped to handle the most sensitive of divorce cases; we are focused on getting you through the process as efficiently as possible with minimal stress. Call our firm today at 408-416-3149 to discuss your options.

About the Author


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today

Fill out our consultation form (Family Law Form or Immigration Form) and schedule an appointment ( Schedule Online).