May 2, 2024 By Paul Wallin

How Do Criminal Domestic Violence Cases Affect Family Law Cases?

Under California law, being convicted of a domestic violence crime can affect a future family law case. For instance, a domestic violence conviction can lead to denial of child custody and denial of spousal support. If you are currently being charged with a domestic violence crime, it is important to know which crimes can affect future family law cases. In this article, we will discuss the types of crimes you need to be aware of.

Our experienced criminal defense attorneys can guide you through the legal process. Call Wallin & Klarich today toll-free at (877) 466-5245 for your free consultation with our experienced attorneys.

Types of Domestic Violence Crimes That Can Affect Family Law Cases

In California, specific crimes are highlighted for their severity or implications, each with distinct definitions and consequences under the law:

  • Murder or Solicitation of Murder of a Spouse: This crime entails the deliberate and unlawful killing of one’s spouse or engaging someone else to commit the act. It reflects the most severe form of domestic violence and is treated with the utmost legal seriousness.
  • Violent Sexual Felony: Includes a range of sexual crimes committed under force or threat, such as rape, sexual battery, and lewd acts against a minor. These felonies are severely punished due to their aggressive violation of another’s physical autonomy and consent.
  • Domestic Violence (Misdemeanor or Felony): Encompasses acts of violence or abuse within a familial or intimate relationship. The legal distinction between misdemeanor and felony charges typically hinges on the severity of the act and the harm inflicted upon the victim.
  • Violation of a Prior Restraining Order: This occurs when an individual knowingly violates the conditions of a court-issued restraining order, intended to protect someone from threats or acts of violence. Such violations are taken seriously as they indicate a disregard for legal protections and the safety of others.
  • Other Crimes that Qualify as a Strike Under California’s “Three Strikes Law”: Crimes falling under this category include serious or violent felonies like robbery, arson, and certain drug offenses. A “strike” on one’s record significantly affects sentencing for future convictions, aiming to deter repeat offenders with increasingly severe penalties.

How These Crimes Can Affect Family Law Cases

The gravity of these crimes can profoundly impact family law cases, particularly in matters of child custody and spousal support. In child custody cases, the court’s paramount concern is the child’s welfare and safety. A history of violent crimes, especially domestic violence, can lead the court to deem a parent unfit for custody or significantly limit their visitation rights to ensure the child’s protection. Similarly, a conviction for crimes such as violation of a restraining order might influence the court’s view on a parent’s ability to comply with court orders and respect legal boundaries, further affecting custody decisions.

In the context of spousal support, the commission of these severe offenses, particularly domestic violence or the murder or solicitation of murder of a spouse, can also play a critical role. Courts may consider such criminal actions as determining factors in spousal support rulings, potentially denying support to a spouse convicted of violent actions against the other. The legal system’s integration of these considerations into family law cases underscores a commitment to safeguarding individuals’ physical and emotional well-being within familial settings.

Beyond family law implications, convictions for these severe crimes carry additional, far-reaching consequences that extend to nearly every aspect of an individual’s life from employment to housing to personal life.

Specific Family Law Codes

Sections 4324 & 4324.5

Prior criminal convictions, especially those involving violence or severe crimes, have a significant impact on the application of California Family Code Sections 4324 and 4324.5. These sections of the law specifically deal with the automatic denial of spousal support to a spouse convicted of a domestic violence offense against the other spouse within five years of the filing for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or a domestic violence protective order. The law aims to ensure that victims of domestic violence are not further victimized by having to financially support an abuser.

In the context of these legal provisions, a prior conviction for a relevant crime directly influences the court’s decisions regarding spousal support. The court is mandated to consider such convictions as conclusive evidence against the granting of spousal support to the offending party. This legal stance underscores California’s commitment to protecting victims of domestic violence and holding perpetrators accountable, even within the framework of family law. It is a clear instance where the intersection of criminal and family law reflects broader societal values concerning safety, accountability, and the consequences of violent behavior within personal relationships.

Section 4325

Section 4325 provides that in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation of the parties, if a spouse is convicted of an act of domestic violence against the other spouse within five years prior to the filing of the dissolution action, there is a rebuttable presumption affecting spousal support. Essentially, this presumption is against the award of spousal support to the convicted spouse, based upon the premise of preventing further harm to the victim.

However, the unique aspect of Section 4325 is the “rebuttable” nature of this presumption, meaning it can be contested or disproved by the convicted spouse under certain circumstances, though this is difficult to achieve. The convicted party must provide substantial evidence that granting spousal support would be just and equitable in consideration of the circumstances of the case. This provision emphasizes the court’s discretion in determining matters of spousal support while still prioritizing the protection of victims of domestic violence.

Section 6306

The principle underlying Section 6306 is that exposure to domestic violence poses significant risks to children, not only in terms of physical harm but also in their emotional and psychological development. Therefore, in custody battles where domestic violence is a factor, the law prioritizes the child’s safety over the parental rights of the accused. The section provides a clear directive to the courts to thoroughly evaluate any evidence of abuse and to consider the implications of such behavior on the child’s best interests.

Call Wallin & Klarich Today!

If you are facing criminal charges, you need an aggressive defense attorney to fight for your freedom. By hiring a Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney, you put yourself in the best position to win your case as well as future family law cases.
Our law firm has been successfully representing thousands of clients. Call us for a free consultation to see if we can help you at 877-466-5245. We will be there when you call. We have offices in Irvine, Pasadena, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Torrance, Victorville, West Covina, and Anaheim. Call us for a free consultation at 877-466-5245.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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