It is unfortunate that many California households experience domestic violence. For victims of abuse, it can be difficult to escape, especially if the person does not have the capacity to support him or herself on their own. With property division as part of a family law case in which there was domestic violence, it is treated differently under the law than a conventional case would be. Understanding the law is crucial. To be fully shielded, it is important to think about consulting with legal professionals who are experienced with this sensitive situation.
Legal rules in a domestic violence divorce case
When there has been a conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence or a misdemeanor conviction in which the perpetrator was given probation and it happened in the previous five years before the divorce case or while the case is under way, the spouse who was convicted cannot receive spousal support from the victimized spouse. Depending on the economics, the injured party will not be required to pay any attorney fees from separate property. There can be an order for those fees to be paid from community assets. The victim spouse can ask that the date of separation be the date upon which the domestic violence incident occurred.
When separating property as part of the dissolution, the court can give the injured party all the community property in his or her retirement and pension benefits. If there is community property, the court can consider how often domestic violence happened and any emotional impact stemming from it; how long the marriage lasted and the number of domestic violence incidents; if the victim spouse’s ability to earn income was hindered by the abuse and resulted in the inability to work; how much the convicted party contributed to the victim spouse’s training, education, work situation and future prospects; if there were hardships experienced by both; and other factors that the court decides are needed for an equitable resolution.
Having legal assistance can help with achieving a fair outcome
People who have suffered from domestic violence are fearful about leaving the relationship and dissolving the marriage. Safety is a primary concern, but the future must also be considered when moving on. A major aspect of that is the division of property and how support will be awarded as part of the divorce. Having legal assistance from a firm that is aware of the challenges that accompany such a physically and emotionally draining circumstance can be imperative. For advice, calling for guidance and representation is the first step toward leaving the situation behind.