Some California divorce cases arise as the result of domestic violence against a spouse, children or both. Domestic abuse can involve anyone involved in a relationship, including couples of the opposite or same sex who are married, living together, or merely dating; the couple’s children, or children from a prior relationship. California divorce lawyer Alan Shifman is well-versed in domestic violence issues and can guide you through every aspect of a divorce proceeding.

Police called to a domestic abuse incident can contact an on-call judicial officer and issue an emergency protective order, or EPO, that bars the accused abuser from coming within a certain distance of the individual reporting the abuse. An EPO can also grant temporary custody of children and bar the accused abuser from the family home. An EPO remains in effect for five court days – long enough to obtain a temporary restraining order, or TRO.

An individual can obtain a temporary restraining order by completing forms at the court clerk’s office and appearing before a judge, often on the same day. A TRO typically bars the accused abuser from coming within a certain distance of the home and workplace of the individual reporting the abuse or contacting that person by telephone or email. A TRO can also determine who has custody of children, who temporarily controls certain property, and who is responsible for certain financial obligations. A TRO typically remains in force for 20 days.

Within 20 days after the court approves the TRO, a hearing must be held to determine whether there was just cause to issue the temporary order and whether a more permanent order should be issued for up to three years. The accused abuser is allowed to present his/her side of the story at this hearing. If granted, a permanent order of protection can also address issues such as counseling, restitution, custody and visitation of minor children, and child support.

Most courthouses provide services or referrals for victims of domestic abuse. The spouse and children of accused domestic abusers can typically obtain counseling and other assistance. A skilled family law attorney can help you through this process through full- or limited-scope representation. For more information about domestic abuse and family law issues, please contact California divorce lawyer Alan Shifman today