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Domestic Violence Charges After a Divorce

Divorce can be a difficult time when your life is turning upside down. Your former partner may threaten to take your kids away or kick you out of the house. The extreme emotions may make you say and do things you wouldn't otherwise do. However, if you do act in violence against your partner, you could risk losing access to your children and even have to leave your home. 

If you are accused of domestic violence, you may be risking a lot if you try to handle it on your own. Domestic battery charges in California aren't something you can usually talk your way out of. You can benefit from the knowledge of an experienced East Bay criminal defense lawyer for legal advice. 

What Are the Consequences of a Domestic Violence Charge in a Divorce?

Even without any criminal charges, going through a divorce is tough. Families going through a divorce have to decide on property division, where to live, child custody and visitation, and child support. For many parents, child custody is the most important issue. A claim of domestic violence can seriously hurt your options in a child custody dispute.

California was one of the first states to institute mandatory arrest policies in domestic violence cases. California takes domestic battery allegations very seriously, including arresting anyone when there is reasonable cause that domestic violence has occurred. If you plead guilty or are convicted of domestic battery, the penalties can include: 

If your ex gets a restraining order, it may include a no-contact order so you can't call, can't visit, and can't send a text message to your ex to arrange a time to meet with your kids. If the protection order includes your children, it may supersede any child custody or visitation order. 

You may feel like you have a right to see your children and you would never do anything to hurt them. However, trying to contact them while you have a restraining order in place is a bad idea. Not only can it make your child custody case more difficult but you could also face additional criminal charges. Violating a restraining order can lead to an arrest and misdemeanor charges. 

If you want to be able to see your children and talk to them, go through your attorney. Your criminal defense attorney can help you understand your options and make sure your parenting rights are protected. You may be able to have a family member pick up the kids or arrange a supervised visit. 

Child Custody Mediation With a Domestic Violence Charge

Family courts in California generally prefer resolving child custody and visitation disputes with mediation. During mediation, the parents meet with a neutral, third-party mediator to come up with an acceptable agreement. The mediator may talk with each separately, or to everyone together. The mediator facilitates coming up with something both parents can agree to. 

However, when there are domestic violence allegations involved, the courts may not use mediation. Without mediation, the parents may be left with whatever decision the family judge comes up with, even if it is not the best option for either parent. Domestic battery charges limit your alternative dispute resolution options in a child custody mediation. 

What Can You Do To Improve Your Child Custody Case?

If your partner is talking about a divorce, you need to remain calm to protect your rights. It may not be fair and your ex may be saying crazy things to other people. However, your best option is to remain calm and go through the courts. Going through the legal system will make sure you are following the proper procedures and document what you do. 

Going outside the law or taking matters into your own hands can make things more difficult. If you violate a court order, the court may think you are more likely to violate other court orders, including custody and visitation orders. To find out about all your legal options, talk to your attorney about what you can do to avoid criminal charges related to a divorce or custody dispute. 

Can You Get Your Ex to Drop the Charges?

Many people involved in a domestic violence arrest case in Oakland try to talk to their ex to get them to drop the charges. This is a bad idea for a couple of reasons. First, talking to your ex after a DV arrest can be a violation of a temporary restraining order (TRO). That can land you in prison. At the least, it won't help your case that you can't stay away when a court order tells you to do just that. 

Second, your ex is not in charge of prosecuting your case. Criminal charges are prosecuted by the state. The Alameda County District Attorney (DA) is the one prosecuting your case. Even if your ex says they don't want to press charges, the DA can still prosecute the case in court. That means that your ex could testify in court that you did not abuse them but the prosecutor could still go forward with the domestic abuse charge. 

Domestic Violence Defense in Oakland and the East Bay

Divorce and separation can be difficult. It may even make you do things you would never normally do. If you were arrested for domestic violence in the East Bay, talk to a criminal defense attorney about your rights. 

East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 40 years of domestic battery defense experience and understands how to approach each case for the greatest chance for success. Representing individuals and their families in Oakland, Alameda County, and Contra Costa County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with domestic violence defense strategies for people accused of abuse. 

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