California Domestic Violence Prevention Act
Domestic violence impacts nearly three in ten women and one in ten men in America, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. In California, the rates are significantly higher, with nearly 35% of women and over 30% of men experiencing physical violence, sexual violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetimes, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although these numbers are distressing and any instance of domestic violence is tragic, California does have a strong law in place intended to protect individuals from domestic violence. Learn more below about the California Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA), and if you or your child is impacted by domestic violence in Los Angeles or the San Gabriel Valley, reach out to Blasser Law for a free consultation and immediate help from a team of compassionate and dedicated Claremont domestic violence lawyers.
What Is Domestic Violence Abuse?
For the purposes of the DVPA, domestic violence, specifically abuse, is given a fairly precise definition. Abuse under the law includes any of the following:
- To intentionally or recklessly cause or attempt to cause bodily injury.
- Sexual assault.
- To place a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or another.
- To engage in any behavior that has been or could be enjoined pursuant to Section 6320.
Additionally, the law makes it clear that abuse is not limited to the actual infliction of physical injury or assault. The law covers threats, stalking, harassment, annoying telephone calls, destroying personal property, and other behaviors outlined in section 6320 of the Family Code, as mentioned above.
Who Is Covered Under the Act?
Domestic violence occurs when abuse, as defined above, is committed against any of the following persons:
• A spouse or former spouse.
• A cohabitant or former cohabitant, which is defined as a person who regularly resides or formerly resided in the household.
• A person with whom the respondent is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.
• A person with whom the respondent has had a child (a male parent is presumed to be the father of the child under certain legal conditions, such as when the child is born during the marriage or pursuant to a voluntary acknowledgment or court order of paternity).
• A child of a party or a child who is the subject of an action under the Uniform Parentage Act, where the presumption applies that the male parent is the father of the child to be protected.
• Any other person related by consanguinity (blood) or affinity (marriage) within the second degree.
These legal definitions can be complicated and confusing to the average person. The domestic violence attorneys at Blasser Law can help you determine whether you are covered under the law.
What Does the DVPA Do?
The stated purpose of the law is to “prevent acts of domestic violence, abuse, and sexual abuse and to provide for a separation of the persons involved in the domestic violence for a period sufficient to enable these persons to seek a resolution of the causes of the violence.” To that end, the DVPA allows a party to seek a protective order from the court. A protective order, also commonly called a domestic violence restraining order or just a restraining order, can accomplish a number of important objectives for your protection. For instance, a protective order can order the alleged abuser to do all of the following:
• Have no contact with the protected person
• Not harass, stalk, threaten or harm people protected by the order
• Stay away by a certain distance
• Move out from a home that is shared with the protected person
• Not have guns, firearms, or ammunition
• Pay spousal support, if you are married
• Pay child support, if you have children together
Such an order is immediately effective and enforceable. The police can be called to enforce the order as needed.
If you and the abuser have children together, the court can also create orders regarding child custody and visitation.
How Blasser Law Can Help
The process for obtaining a restraining order is intended to be as easy as possible for a person suffering from domestic violence. However, going through the process of obtaining a protective order while you are in a difficult emotional state, particularly if you are caring for your children at the same time, can be intimidating and confusing. The family law attorneys at Blasser Law can guide you through the process, answer any questions you have, and provide technical assistance as needed. We can also represent you in any court hearings to extend a temporary restraining order, especially if it is challenged by the other party. We also represent people who have had a restraining order filed against them to ensure they are being treated fairly and not wrongfully disadvantaged regarding child custody, support, or other family law matters.
Restraining orders can be put in place to last for up to five years, and during that time, individual rights and family relationships will be legally altered. Whichever side of the restraining order you are on, legal advice and representation can be crucial to ensuring your safety and protecting your rights.
Contact Blasser Law for Help With Domestic Violence Issues in Claremont and Southern California
If you are in need of assistance with a protective order or other matters under California’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act, the skilled and experienced family law attorneys at Blasser Law are here to help. Call our Claremont office at 877-927-2181 for immediate assistance in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley.