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Domestic Violence in San Diego Family Law Court During COVID 19

Unfortunately, during COVID 19 in San Diego, domestic violence is seen to be rising as around the country and, according to reports, the world. Domestic violence has many different components. According to the Center for Family Justice, there are many characteristics of domestic abuse including physical abuse, psychological/emotional abuse, financial/economic abuse, harassment and stalking and sexual abuse. A more detailed explanation of specific conduct, again per the Center for Family Justice, is below for each category above. The laws in California protect victims of domestic violence. This can become complicated since some domestic violence conduct, such as sexual abuse and physical abuse and stalking [and many others] may be sufficient for a Judge in San Diego to issue a temporary restraining order in family law court but some may not. The controlling statutes for TRO in San Diego Family Law Court are enumerated in Family Law Code Sections 6320 & 6203. The Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC has experience representing victims of domestic violence in family law court in San Diego. A free consultation up to one half hour is offered in a confidential meeting. This consultation can be scheduled by calling 800-769-4748.

First, domestic abuse can be a one time act or can be a pattern of conduct over a short [or long] period of time. For many, unfortunately, domestic violence has become “a way of life” but this does not have to continue. There are many free resources in San Diego who assist victims of domestic violence. DV is also not limited to males and females also commit domestic violence.

Physical abuse is domestic violence even if no permanent damage or injury occurs or leave any marks of the attack. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, the following: strangling; burning; attacked; hurting; throwing objects to intimidate or hurt; slapping; punching; scratching; biting; grabbing as well as assault and battery. Physical abuse may also be criminal and there are specific California Penal Codes for specific crimes. For example, an assault is Penal Code Section 242 and battery is Penal Code Section 243. These are misdemeanor sections and, depending on the conduct, could also be charges as a felony in San Diego Criminal Court.

Emotion and/or psychological abuse is a behavior which is used by a spouse or partner to damage or control the emotional well being of the other partner or spouse. Psychological/emotional abuse can include, but again not limited to, the following: intimidation; making remarks which are humiliating; yelling in your face; controlling where you go and who you see as well as preventing you from seeing your relatives and/or friends.

Financial/economic abuse happens when an abuser has complete financial control over the victim and uses this total economic control for abuse. Economic/financial abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following: running up debt in the victim’s name without authorization; harassing and/or stalking the victim at the victim’s work place with the intention to jeopardize their employment as well as denying access to bank accounts.

Harassment and/or stalking is conduct that may also be criminal. This conduct is also prohibited in the family law code as meeting the initial burden of proof for a temporary restraining order to be granted by the Judge. One definition of stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a person that serves no legitimate purpose and seriously alarms, annoys, or intimidates that person. This can be very subjective but objective evidence is needed to meet the burden of proof of conduct establishing domestic violence. Harassment may be defined as to annoy persistently and a pattern of conduct should be presented with evidence to the Court [social media postings; photographs; texts; e mails; witness declarations and others. Another definition of harassment is to create a hostile or unpleasant situation for especially by unwelcome and uninvited physical and/or verbal conduct.

Sexual abuse can occur between spouses and partners and strangers. According to the American Psychological Association, sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity. The perpetrator[s] use force or make threats or taking advantage of victims who are not able to give consent. The APA states that most perpetrators and victims know each other. There are many reactions to being sexually assaulted. Some immediate reactions to sexual abuse may include fear, shock or disbelief. Long-term symptoms may include fear, anxiety or PTSD. Some victims have multiple reactions both long term and short term.

Doppelt and Forney, APLC has represented victims of DV and has experience in these most complex cases. All cases are individual and a consultation for your case with a licensed California lawyer will give you information regarding your rights and potential legal strategies.

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