Domestic violence is a criminal offense, but only an estimated 52% of victims report the violence to the police. If you have experienced domestic violence and are now going through a divorce or considering filing for divorce, Sarieh Law Offices is here to support you throughout this difficult process. Separation and divorce are usually challenging, but when domestic violence is involved, the stress, fear, and isolation can be overwhelming. We make every effort to ensure our clients are given the compassion and dedicated legal representation they deserve during this time.

What Qualifies as Domestic Violence?

The state’s domestic violence laws make it illegal to inflict harm or threaten to inflict harm on former or current:

  • Spouses

  • Roommates or cohabitants

  • Co-parents

  • Intimate partners

Domestic violence is often charged in California as domestic battery under Penal Code 243 or as inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner under Penal Code 273.5. Domestic battery is usually a misdemeanor, and inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner is a wobbler offense, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Wobblers are decided based on a variety of factors – the circumstances of the incident, the severity of the injuries inflicted, and the criminal record of the accused.

Domestic Battery in California

California does not require that a visible injury is inflicted for a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery. Penalties for a conviction include a maximum fine of $2,000 and up to one year in jail. If severe injury does occur as a result of domestic battery, it becomes a felony under California Penal Code 672, with penalties of up to four years in prison and as much as $10,000 in fines.

Inflicting Corporal Injury on an Intimate Partner

California classifies domestic violence in this offense category when:

  • A traumatic condition was caused by a physical injury

  • The injury was a substantial factor in the development of a traumatic condition

  • Had the injury not occurred, the traumatic condition would not have existed

If this crime is charged as a felony offense, and no previous offenses have been committed, the attacker could face up to four years in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Other related crimes that may be committed along with these domestic violence offenses include:

  • Criminal threats

  • Stalking

  • Revenge porn

  • Aggravated trespass

If your attacker is found guilty of domestic violence, they could face jail time, fines, loss of custody rights, gun forfeiture, and a criminal record. Some abusers are required to attend domestic violence classes, and non-citizens convicted of this crime could face deportation. These penalties substantially affect the convicted person’s life, which is often considered to be a contributing factor to the low percentage of cases being reported.

Divorce After Domestic Violence

When you have a close or intimate relationship with someone, it can be difficult to see them struggle with consequences like these, even after they hurt you. We understand the struggle you face, and regardless of what you decide to do about criminal charges, we are here to help your divorce go as smoothly as possible.

Keep in mind that the statute of limitations for domestic violence in California is now five years. New domestic violence laws in California recently updated the domestic violence statute of limitations. While the timeframe has been lengthened, victims must still act before the five years elapse if they want to pursue legal action against their attacker.

California is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce pleadings. Despite this, documented cases of domestic violence will impact your divorce. Child custody, visitation, and spousal support are just a few of the ways this criminal offense can change the course and outcome of divorce proceedings. The presumption in divorce cases involving domestic violence is that the abusive spouse is not entitled to receive spousal support. Plus, if you do share children with your ex, the way you co-parent may be impacted by a protective order.

Compassionate and Experienced Advocates in California Divorces

Domestic violence adds an extra layer of difficulty to what is already an emotionally challenging process. We help our clients explore all of their options to ensure that they receive the best possible outcome for themselves and their children. Contact Sarieh Law Offices to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our divorce attorneys.