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An overview of California domestic violence laws

No relationship is ever perfect. However, while most adults and couples work through their difficulties without undue upheaval, many relationships are destroyed by domestic violence. Anyone in California who is struggling with this issue has the right to seek experienced help.

California spousal abuse laws are not restricted to a spouse or former spouse, but also apply to any intimate or formerly intimate partner. The law also applies to a parent of a child belonging to the victim. Domestic abuse encompasses more than a physical act. It includes other forms of control or manipulation, including emotional or mental abuse. Furthermore, if the victim is an older person, elder abuse laws may also apply.

There are different categories of charges that can apply to a domestic abuse incident, which may be handled by a criminal law attorney or by a family law professional, depending on the nature of the offense and the wishes of the victim. The criminal description of this type of abuse is bodily injury to a spouse. This may carry a punishment of just a brief jail sentence to more than 24 years, depending on the circumstances and the number of offenses an abuser has committed. This charge is referred to as a "wobbling" charge, since it could be a misdemeanor or a felony, based on the particulars of the incident. It also must include some form of physical injury and the accompanying trauma.

The second category consists of spousal battery, which does not carry the same level of injury in order to press charges. The abuse only need to involve some form of unwanted physical contact. Spousal abuse can also include a violation of a previously obtained protective order, which can be handled through the family courts as can some less serious abuse allegations, since the family court system also requires a lesser burden of proof. When someone in California is a victim of domestic violence, she or he may be uncertain of how to obtain the assistance needed to ensure personal safety, including protections for minor children. An experienced family law attorney is typically an invaluable resource for those people facing these difficult circumstances.

Source: FindLaw, "California Spousal Abuse Charges", Accessed on Sept. 28, 2017

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