An arrest for domestic violence is traumatic enough, but few consider the consequences a DV criminal conviction will have on their ability to have custody of their children upon divorce. If the court finds that a party seeking custody of a child has perpetrated an act of domestic violence against the other party seeking custody, or against the child or the child’s siblings within the previous five years, there is a rebuttable presumption that granting sole or joint legal or physical custody to the perpetrator is detrimental to the best interest of the child under CA laws. It should be noted that this presumption is distinct from the mandatory consideration of physical abuse as a factor in determining a child’s best interest under the family Code and applies to a narrower category of cases than Fam C §3011. According to Matthew Ruff, a Torrance Domestic Violence Attorney, under California law, a person has “perpetrated domestic violence” when he or she is found by a court to have:
• Intentionally or recklessly caused or attempted to cause bodily injury or sexual assault;
• Placed a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another; or
• Engaged in behavior that includes, but is not limited to, the following: threatening, harassing, striking, destroying personal property, or disturbing the peace of another for which a court may issue an ex parte order to protect the other parent seeking custody, the child, or the child’s siblings.
When a party in a custody or restraining order proceeding alleges that the other party has perpetrated domestic violence under the terms of Family Code §3044, the court must advise the parties of Fam C §3044 and provide them a copy of the code before any custody mediation in the case. This is among the many consequences that will flow from a conviction of domestic violence in Torrance or any Court in California. Should you or a loved one be facing a domestic violence criminal case such as spousal abuse, assault, battery or criminal threats, contact local Torrance Domestic Violence Attorney Matthew Ruff at 310-527-4100 for a discreet consultation about your options.