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Brian Don Levy, Attorney at Law

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as "…a pattern of behavior with the effect of establishing power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, including threats and the use of violence. Battering happens when batterers believe they are entitled to control their partners, when violence is permissible, when violence will produce the desired effect or prevent a worse one, and when the benefits outweigh the consequences."

Not all battering is physical. Battering includes emotional abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse, using children, threats, using male privilege, intimidation, isolation, and a variety of other behaviors used to maintain fear, intimidation, and power.

Battering escalates. It often begins with behavior like threats, name calling, violence in the victim's presence (such as punching a fist through a wall), and or damage to objects or pets. It may escalate to restraining, pushing, slapping, pinching. The battering may include punching, kicking, biting, sexual assault, tripping. Finally, it may become life-threatening.

Although there is no profile of the person who will be battered, there is a well-documented syndrome of what happens once the battering starts. Battered individuals experience shame, embarrassment, isolation, repression of feelings, and may be prevented by control and fear from planning or acting in their own behalf.

If you need immediate help, call 911!

THOSE WHO COMMIT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CAN BE PROSECUTED!

Important Domestic Violence Phone Numbers

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE 1-800-787-3224 (TDD service) Providing emergency and non-emergency referrals to domestic violence resources in your area (multilingual service available)

Resource Center on Child Protection and Custody 1-800-527-3223 National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Providing information, consultation, technical assistance and legal research related to child protection and custody issues within the context of domestic violence

Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence 1-800-313-1310 Family Violence Prevention Fund Providing specialized information packets designed to strengthen the health care response to domestic violence, as well as technical assistance and library services to support health care-based domestic violence training and program development

For more information about the Commission and its activities, contact the Commission staff at American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence 740 15th Street, NW 9th Floor Washington, DC 20005-1022 Phone: 202/662-1737/1744 Fax: 202/662-1594 E-Mail: abacdv@abanet.org

Important Domestic Violence Statutes

Family Code 4325. Temporary or permanent support to abusive spouse; rebuttable presumption disfavoring award; evidence

  1. In any proceeding for dissolution of marriage where there is a criminal conviction for an act of domestic violence perpetrated by one spouse against the other spouse entered by the court within five years prior to the filing of the dissolution proceeding, or at any time thereafter, there shall be a rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of proof that any award of temporary or permanent spousal support to the abusive spouse otherwise awardable pursuant to the standards of this part should not be made.

  2. The court may consider documented evidence of a convicted spouse's history as a victim of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, perpetrated by the other spouse, or any other factors the court deems just and equitable, as conditions for rebutting this presumption.

  3. The rebuttable presumption created in this section may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.

Family Code 3011. Best interest of child; considerations

In making a determination of the best interest of the child in a proceeding described in Section 3021, the court shall, among any other factors it finds relevant, consider all of the following:

  1. The health, safety, and welfare of the child.

  2. Any history of abuse by one parent or any other person seeking custody against any of the following:

    1. Any child to whom he or she is related by blood or affinity or with whom he or she has had a caretaking relationship, no matter how temporary.

    2. The other parent.

    3. A parent, current spouse, or cohabitant, of the parent or person seeking custody, or a person with whom the parent or person seeking custody has a dating or engagement relationship.

      As a prerequisite to the consideration of allegations of abuse, the court may require substantial independent corroboration, including, but not limited to, written reports by law enforcement agencies, child protective services or other social welfare agencies, courts, medical facilities, or other public agencies or private nonprofit organizations providing services to victims of sexual assault or domestic violence. As used in this subdivision, "abuse against a child" means "child abuse" as defined in Section 11165.6 of the Penal Code and abuse against any of the other persons described in paragraph (2) or (3) means "abuse" as defined in Section 6203 of this code.

  3. The nature and amount of contact with both parents, except as provided in Section 3046.

  4. The habitual or continual illegal use of controlled substances or habitual or continual abuse of alcohol by either parent. Before considering these allegations, the court may first require independent corroboration, including, but not limited to, written reports from law enforcement agencies, courts, probation departments, social welfare agencies, medical facilities, rehabilitation facilities, or other public agencies or nonprofit organizations providing drug and alcohol abuse services. As used in this subdivision, "controlled substances" has the same meaning as defined in the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act, Division 10 (commencing with Section 11000) of the Health and Safety Code.

    1. Where allegations about a parent pursuant to subdivision (b) or (d) have been brought to the attention of the court in the current proceeding, and the court makes an order for sole or joint custody to that parent, the court shall state its reasons in writing or on the record. In these circumstances, the court shall ensure that any order regarding custody or visitation is specific as to time, day, place, and manner of transfer of the child as set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 6323.

    2. The provisions of this subdivision shall not apply if the parties stipulate in writing or on the record regarding custody or visitation.

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THE LAW OFFICE OF BRIAN DON LEVY
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