Domestic Violence and Divorce

Domestic Violence and Divorce

Douglas Parker
 | 

California Penal Code 13700 defines domestic violence as a form of abuse committed against an intimate partner, consisting of the use of physical force against an intimate partner.

 

 It can also consist of non-physical forms of abuse such as threatening behavior, neglect, emotional abuse, blackmail, and other forms of domestic violence that affect victims’ mental health.

Types of Divorce When it Comes to Domestic Violence

At-Fault Divorce

In many states, you can file for an ‘at-fault’ divorce, in which you can cite misconduct by your partner, such as domestic violence, as the reason for your divorce. This will require any allegations of misconduct to be proved during alimony decisions. In California however, you can only file for no-fault divorce.

No-Fault Divorce

In a ‘no-fault’ divorce, you cannot cite any misconduct as grounds for your divorce. However, issues such as domestic abuse accusations will be taken into account by California family courts when awarding alimony.

How Domestic Violence May Impact Your Divorce Timeline

The occurrence of domestic abuse will not make your divorce proceedings happen faster, however proving domestic abuse allegations can speed up the separation in other ways, such as by awarding the victim with the financial support they need to remove themselves and any children from their home.

What Impact Does Domestic Violence Have on Divorce Proceedings?

Domestic abuse can affect the decisions of the family court regarding the alimony awarded to the victim, as well as child support and payment of legal fees. Proving domestic abuse allegations during divorce proceedings will also make it easier for the victim to obtain a restraining order against their former partner, and ensure that the abusive partner is not left with custody of any children in the relationship.

What Important Factors Will a Court Consider in a Divorce Proceeding?

California is a community property state. This means that when people get married, they are considered a single entity for the purpose of property ownership. Any property or assets that either party earns or acquires is considered the property of that single entity, rather than one spouse or the other. The same goes for any debts generated during the marriage.

 

Assets that predate the marriage are excluded from being considered community property, and this extends to purchases made using those assets. For example, if a spouse inherits money before getting married and then spends the money after getting married, those purchases are considered the sole property of that spouse.

 

Over the course of a divorce proceeding, a family court will decide how the shared property of the relationship will be divided between the two spouses, as well as the payment of any alimony or child support from one spouse to the other. 

 

These decisions depend on a wide range of factors, including:

  • Net income of both spouses
  • Age of children
  • Time children will spend with each spouse
  • Who declares children as a dependent for tax purposes
  • Retirement plan contributions
  • Health insurance costs
  • Mortgage interest and property taxes of both spouses
  • Mandatory retirement contributions
  • Mandatory union dues
  • Earning potential of each spouse
  • Living standard while living together
  • Professional skills of each spouse
  • The sacrifices each spouse made during marriage, such as the decision to leave a career to care for children
  • Any financial support that one spouse gave to other for education, training and other factors increasing their earning potential
  • Assets and income
  • Length of marriage
  • Debts taken on during marriage
  • Age and health of each spouse
  • Domestic violence incidents
  • Criminal convictions


This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.

Douglas Parker

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