Domestic Violence: More Than Just Physical Assault
When people hear the term “domestic violence,” they often think of one spouse physically assaulting the other. This is also often associated with a dominating relationship in which a spouse is afraid to leave for fear of future domestic violence.Hire San Diego Divorce Lawyer Free Consultation for handling cases and providing quality services related to divorce or child custody.
In family law, however, the definition of “domestic violence” is much wider than the term as used in everyday life. Someone has “perpetrated domestic violence” when he or she has intentionally or recklessly caused or attempted to cause bodily injury, or sexual assault, or to have placed a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another, or to have engaged in any behavior involving, but not limited to, threatening, striking, harassing, destroying personal property, or disturbing the peace of another.
If someone feels like their spouse is “abusing” them, even though the other person has not used physical violence, the abusive behavior likely falls into this expansive definition of domestic violence.
That person is entitled to seek a restraining order which may restrict the other person’s behavior up to and including kicking them out of the house—even if the parties are married and even if no one has filed for divorce. Certainly, unmarried people in a romantic relationship also have a right to seek protection from domestic violence.
Due to the explosive nature of the issue of domestic violence, some unscrupulous litigants have resorted to making false claims of domestic violence. These charges must be vigorously fought because the burden of proof in family court is so low and the consequences for the alleged perpetrator can be harsh.
Fortunately, the law has a remedy for false allegations of domestic violence; the court can impose monetary sanctions and/or custody restrictions against the false accuser.
A domestic violence hearing in family court resembles a jury trial in criminal court. For your hearing, you need a true trial lawyer. You need someone with prior experience prosecuting crimes. You need to call attorney Michael C. MacNeil to make sure your rights are protected in court.