How to Protect Children While Divorcing an Abusive Spouse

Encinitas, CA – Abuse and domestic violence are extremely serious issues and affect many people around the globe. Contrary to popular belief, abuse doesn’t just include hitting or other physical acts of violence. In fact, California law gives a fairly broad definition of “abuse” in its Family Law Code 6203, allowing for the following:

  • Causing or attempting to cause bodily harm, whether intentionally or recklessly.
  • Assaulting someone sexually.
  • Placing a person in “reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury.”
  • Not limiting the definition of abuse to “the actual infliction of physical injury or assault.”

Experienced San Diego divorce attorney, John Griffith, explains, “When it comes to spousal abuse, we need to be aggressive in removing you and any children from a potentially dangerous situation. Protection is our first goal in helping you resolve your divorce case, and California has many options for helping out victims of spousal abuse or domestic violence.”

The California Courts website offers robust resources for legal and physical protection when it comes to domestic violence. The California Department of Social Services also offers information on child protective services, and the Department of Education provides signs and symptoms of child abuse.

Child Support During Divorce of an Abusive Spouse Explained By A San Diego, CA Lawyer

Restraining Orders

In some cases, a restraining order may be appropriate to protect one and one’s children from an abusive spouse. Even children aged 12 years or older can file their own restraining orders against an abusive parent. Domestic violence restraining orders are one of the best ways to immediately take action in a dangerous situation.

In an emergency, a judge can be called any time of day to issue an Emergency Protective Order (EPO). EPOs are effective immediately and last up to one week (seven days). A Temporary Protective Order (TPO) usually lasts between three to four weeks, or until the court hearing date. So-called “permanent” restraining orders last up to five years and can be renewed when it runs out.

If obtaining a domestic violence restraining order is not immediately feasible, there are other restraining orders available, such as those pertaining to:

  • Civil harassment
  • Workplace violence
  • Elder or dependent adult abuse

“Please note that while restraining orders are very helpful overall, they do not end a marriage; it is not equivalent with a divorce,” Griffith says.

Abuse is a serious problem that requires immediate action, especially when children are involved. It’s always best to seek an attorney who is well-versed in family law.

If you or someone you know wants to divorce an abusive spouse, please call (858) 345-1720 in Carlsbad and (858) 345-1720 in San Diego, or email to schedule a free consultation.

About Us: We at Griffith, Young and Lass offer experienced, compassionate, competent legal care in the area of family law. We proudly serve the Southern California area with a great deal of professionalism. Working together with you, we will help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

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