The California Family Code defines domestic violence under Family Code 3044 (c): a person has perpetrated domestic violence when he or she is found by the court to have intentionally or recklessly caused or attempted to cause bodily injury, 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 limted to, threatening, striking, harassing, destroying personal property or disturbing the peace of another, for which a court may issue an ex-parte order pursuant to Section 6320 to protect the other party seeking custody of the child or to protect the child and the child's siblings.
Child custody cases can involve allegations that one parent has perpetrated or has threatened the other parent of domestic violence or abuse. A family court must consider any history of abuse perpetrated by one parent in order to determine whether it is in the best interest of a child that a parent who has perpetrated domestic violence be given custody of that child. If a court rules that a parent has committed domestic violence within the previous 5 years, that ruling creates a presumption in the law. The presumption is called a rebuttal presumption. Simply put, a family court would likely not award sole or joint legal or physical custody of a minor to that offending parent because such an order would be detrimental to the best interest of that child.
That presumption is a rebuttal presumption, meaning that a parent found to have committed domestic violence by the court can overcome that presumption by demonstrating evidence such that the court can understand that ordering custody rights to that parent would not endanger the health, welfare and safety of the minor child. Such evidence can include a completion of certain parenting programs, anger management programs, counseling, participation in volunteer programs assisting the community or helping with centers for the prevention of domestic violence, just to name a few examples.
A parent's right to have child custody or to have visitation with his or her child will be impacted when there exits independent corroboration that such parent has prepetrated domestic violence or has threatened domestic violence.
If you are a parent and you are facing allegations that you have perpetrated domestic violence, it is best to seek representation from a child custody family law attorney. Call the Gonzalez Law Firm at 1-877-345-2997 for a consultation. The Gonzalez Law Firm has offices in Santa Ana and Fullerton. Your parental legal right to have frequent and continuing with your children needs to be protected.