Key Issues in Family Law
Domestic violence (Intimate Partner Abuse) has an enormous impact on all members of families. The rapid changes and increases in protections for the direct victims and the "indirect" victims of abuse reflect the lack of tolerance for abusive behaviors. The protections for victims of abuse in Family Court go beyond simply stopping abusers. A finding that a party committed domestic violence upon the other party, the children, or both, requires that the Court make presumptions against the party that committed the abusive behavior in child custody & visitation orders, and also spousal support. In a very real sense, sanctions for domestic violence return aspects of "fault" to the no-fault divorce.
- Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence Accusations in Family Court (Click to Expand)
If your Family Law case includes allegations of Domestic Violence, you should seek legal advice. While Domestic Violence in Family Court can include misconduct that does not rise to the level of criminal behavior, most allegations of Domestic Violence are allegations of a crime. Parties accused of Domestic Violence should consider themselves accused of a crime and exercise their right to remain silent. The time and place to defend or explain the situation is after discussion of the accusations and situation with an attorney skilled in defending such accusations. This includes making statements believed to show innocence. The stakes are simply too high to make statements with advice of counsel.
If you are served with a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), read it, do not violate it, and see a lawyer as soon as you can. TRO's are issued after review of one side of the situation and are intended solely to protect from and stop Domestic Violence if it is happening. There will be a hearing to determine whether the accusations are true. It is at that hearing, and not through friends and family, that the defense should be presented.
The defense of the Family Law Domestic Violence Restraining Order request can be complicated by the existence of an arrest, criminal; investigation, and/or the filing of a criminal complaint. Parties that have been arrested and told that no charges were filed when they appeared at their first court date should be careful and understand that such a situation does not mean no charges will ever be filed. The statute of limitations for misdemeanor criminal charges of Domestic Violence is one year; for felony charges, it is three years. The specific reason for the lack of charges filed on a particular occasion must be fully understood before statements in the Family Law case are made.
Raskin Law Office has a rare and helpful advantage in these matters. We have experience working with the many agencies involved and have a reputation for zealous representation of our clients, whether they be victims or accused of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Accusations in Criminal Court (Click to Expand)
If you are facing Domestic Violence Criminal charges, consult a lawyer with experience in defending Domestic Violence allegations. You should not make any statements to anyone (including family & friends) without your lawyer. What you say really can be used against you and it does not matter where or when it was said. It is also important to recognize that what an accused person hopes will explain innocence could provide the only evidence available to prove a part of the prosecutor's case. The time and place to defend against criminal accusations in with a lawyer at your side, usually in court, or through skillful discussions with prosecutors.
Even if you have already made statements to others, you should stop discussing the matter and consult an attorney. Contrary to some misconceptions, the San Diego County Public Defender's Office has a number of very good attorneys, motivated to defend your interests. While they will not represent you an any related Family Law matters, you should consult them enthusiastically if you are not hiring a private attorney.
Your Criminal case and Family Law cases are in different courts, on different schedules, with different objectives. You must coordinate the defense in both cases or risk losing the benefits gained in what case by the outcome of the other. Ensure any lawyer you hire is considering your needs in both cases.
Raskin Law Office has a rare and helpful advantage in these matters. Joseph Raskin is one of the few attorneys that represents clients accused of Domestic Violence in both Criminal and Family law courts of San Diego, Chula Vista and El Cajon. One lawyer analyzing and preparing the case for both courts provides a significant savings in fees and also can ensure the best result overall because each case has different consequences and each person has different priorities or concerns. We have experience working with the many agencies involved and have a reputation for zealous representation of our clients, whether they be victims or accused of domestic violence.
Victims (Click to expand)
Victims of Violence or other Abuse
If you are a victim of violence or other abuse, do not minimize or rationalize the threat to you or your children. Unfortunately, abuse tends to get worse if not addressed. Use Raskin Law Office, or any appropriate means to protect yourself with a restraining order. Police officers responding to domestic violence allegations can provide you with information for emergency assistance. Raskin Law Office frequently becomes involved in cases well after governmental help has begun the process.
The City of San Diego has a large Domestic Violence resource center (The Family Justice Center) which you are encouraged to visit for additional information. Do not rest the hope of your future in the hands of an abusive spouse or partner.
Remember that the Family Court is not the only place protection can be found. It is often not the best "First" choice for help. The process in Family Court can take too long to intervene in some cases. However, resources exist to bridge the gap. Restraining Orders can include aspects to maintain stability, not just safety. Orders to move-out, pay bills, protect children, temporary visitation (usually supervised), and more can be part of the protective orders from the outset. Eventually, financial and custody matters will need to be addressed with a different process. But do not suffer abuse because you feel that you have no options or resources to break the cycle of abuse. If you decide not to call Raskin Law Office, please get help and make the abuse stop. If you have children in a home with abuse, then it is your duty to protect them from abuse or seeing you abused. There are ways to end abuse, and they all start with getting help.
False Accusations (Click to expand)
Unfortunately, the power of the laws protecting victims of domestic violence can be abused. Facing a false allegation of domestic violence can leave a spouse feeling betrayed from every direction, seemingly with nowhere to turn. The sanctions for domestic violence are many, and often destroy careers. Even if no criminal case is filed, restraining orders appear on "RAP" sheets and presumptions against custody and visitation can destroy a relationship between parent and child.
Using false allegations of abuse to gain an advantage in a Family Law case is improper and can lead to results much worse than simply addressing the issues in the case. Fabricators of some abuse allegations are subject presumptions negatively affecting custody, monetary sanctions, paying attorney fees for the other party (and potentially criminal charges). You should work very closely with your lawyer to properly define the scope and threats of abuse in your case.
Truthful allegations of misbehavior, with which a Court does not find rises to the level of Domestic Violence is not the type of "False Accusation" the law is addressing. There is room for a difference of opinion. If you think you are being abused, please read the "Victims" tab, above. Do not be dissuaded from protecting yourself or other family members. Get help and competent guidance.
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