What To Do If You Have Been Falsely Accused Of Child Abuse In Your Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmDivorce proceedings can sometimes turn out to be full blown affairs of emotions and accusations. One such accusation that should be used with care but is used rather sparingly is that of child abuse. Child Abuse is a serious accusation and can shatter even the strongest reputation to pieces. Making an allegation of such sorts is supposedly easy and yet its affects can be far reaching on the spouse and Orange County divorce proceedings.

Most of these accusations are used when the child is an infant or unable to understand the situation and comprehend his or her viewpoint. The Orange County family law court has always encouraged both the parents to stay in contact with the child but have one exception to that rule. If the parent is accused of abusing or neglecting his child voluntarily, he or she can be preventing from contact with the child for an extended period of time and often supervised.

This is what you get if you actually abused your child, but what if the claims were false? What happens to the parent that makes false accusations regarding child abuse in courts?

Curtailed or Supervised Visitation

In case of the court finding one spouse to have lied in the accusation, the court can order a punishment that can affect the falsely accusing parent’s visitation rights. They can be ordered to only have supervised and monitored visitations, or the courts can even curtail the amount of visitation time and number of visits to make sure they are brought to justice for tarnishing someone’s reputation.

Monetary Sanctions

False accusations of child abuse in Orange County divorce cases lead not only to punishments by the courts on visitation rights but it can also involve financial fines. The court can order and impose financial sanction on the accusing parent to pay a lump sum amount to the other parent. This lump sum amount’s sanction; however, cannot exceed the amount of money the accused spent on his/her family lawyer’s fees and other procedural costs to defend him/her against the false accusations.

To claim these sanctions under California Family Code 3027.1, there is no need to show the falsity of the claim in court. The falsely accused parent only has to show that he/she prevailed in the court where this claim was originally made.

Understanding How To Deal with A Narcissistic Spouse During Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange-County-divorce-attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmAre you considering divorcing your narcissist spouse? If you are, it is very likely that you have already given their reaction to the divorce a lot of thought. This shows how difficult it can be to divorce a narcissist.

Who is a Narcissist? Narcissists are people who are love themselves more than anyone else in the world. Being self-centered, self-applauding and self-absorbed are all indications of being a narcissist. These people are known to be control freaks, likely to entertain and agree on ideas and perspectives put forward by themselves. Here is some input as to narcissists react to divorce:

Reaction Of A Narcissist To Divorce – Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

If you have had a history of domestic violence or child abuse in your family, it is likely that your narcissist spouse will use the same tactics in his/her reaction to your decision regarding the divorce. They like to manipulate situations to their advantage and tend to get violent when things don’t go their way.  So protect yourself from such situations if you sense such a reaction from your spouse, including seeking legal assistance, to ensure the safety of you and your children.

Reaction Of A Narcissist To Divorce – Emotional Abuse

Here are examples of what a narcissist can threaten in a divorce:

“You and your children will be on the streets if you go ahead with this divorce.”

“I will leave work and you’ll be paying my support.”

“I am going to stop you from seeing my kids.”

“I will spend each and every penny I have to fight you.”

If these threats sound like something your spouse would say, you should get legal help as soon as possible. These people are control freaks – the slightest indication of losing control can make them feel insecure and they won’t allow that to happen. When they are told about a divorce which is a significant life-altering decision, threats like these are common. While domestic violence is more common in a male narcissist, emotional abuse is likely to be used by both sexes with equal vigor.

Reaction Of A Narcissist To Divorce – Financial Abuse

This is another common way to react by not only narcissists but any person who wants to teach his or her spouse a lesson.  Again, being self-possessed, narcissists can opt to financial abuse as a means to keep the control of their life in their own hand and stop you from altering it altogether. They can resort to the following steps:

  • Hiding their assets
  • Refusing to pay child support or alimony
  • Driving up the fees of the litigation by delaying tactics

These are some of the ways we described that narcissist’s handle divorce. The key to your handling of such situations is patience, perseverance, and having legal counsel that can protect your rights while avoiding antagonizing of your narcissist spouse in the divorce case.  Each divorce case is different in some way and needs to be handled based on the circumstances of the case, and that can be affected by the type of parties involved in the divorce.

Domestic Violence And Its Effect On Child Custody

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Domestic violence Orange County attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmDomestic violence has been an unfortunate reality that is still common in Orange County and other places in the United States.  Domestic violence is one of the leading reasons for Orange County divorce and paternity cases.

Does domestic violence being proven mean that the custody will remain the same? Will it result in the restrained parent staying away from the other parent only? Most importantly, will the custody be altered? The answer to all these questions is most usually “no.” There are substantial implications of domestic violence on child custody.

In California courts, if it is found that the parent seeking custody of a child – either sole or joint – has committed domestic violence against either the child’s siblings, the child himself, or against the other parent, in the previous five years pursuant to Family Code section 3044, the courts presume that the parent guilty of this offense should not be entitled to joint or sole custody because it is presumed to not be in the child’s best interests.

This presumption has far-reaching effects and implications.  The court will believe their presumption to be true unless proven otherwise, by rebutting the legal presumption under Family Code 3044.  The burden of rebutting the legal presumption is on the parent who then has to prove why he or she is entitled to get sole or joint custody.

The court has to consider many factors after a finding of domestic violence to determine what the appropriate child custody orders should be. Some of the factors are as follows:

  1. Where does the child’s best interest lie?
  2. Did the parent complete a batterer’s program which meets the criteria of the California Penal Code?
  3. Did the parent complete a parenting class which the family court deemed necessary?
  4. Did the parent follow the restraining orders issued?
  5. Was there further domestic violence?

The issue of domestic violence and the implications of domestic violence on child custody are substantial and can affect child custody for years.  Therefore, if you have been the victim of domestic violence or you have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence, you must seek the services of a family law attorney familiar with these issues as soon as such incidents of domestic violence occur.  What you do in the very beginning of your case can have huge consequences as to how your case turns out.

Can Temporary Spousal Support be Awarded if Domestic Violence is Present?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmNot all relationships are happy, well balanced unions. There may be issues of domestic violence involving either spouse. The end result is that it leaves not only a criminal record, if the perpetrator is convicted, but may also affect other situations in the future.

An example of domestic violence affecting something in the future would be a male spouse, prior to marriage, being involved in an incident with his partner in which she brandished a firearm at him. Although the wife was arrested and charged, contrary to the uncooperative man’s direct wishes, she was ultimately granted probation on a lesser charge. The case was dismissed when she completed probation.

About a decade later, the marriage disintegrated and the husband wishes to avoid paying temporary spousal support because of the wife’s previous history of violence. Is that possible?

The ruling legislation for situations such as this is the California Family Code – specifically sections 3600, 4320(l)(m) and section 4325. As with any stated legislation, there are often exceptions or legal work-arounds.  For instance, the most applicable section in this example is section 4325, which is a rebuttable “presumption” that permanent or temporary alimony for an abusive spouse should not be ordered in the presence of a conviction within a five year period before filing for a divorce.

In the example above, the couple were not married when the violence occurred and the incident took place longer than five years ago – two points that may possibly go against the man being able to avoid paying temporary spousal support. Whether or not there is a conviction for spousal battery is irrelevant, as it can be any lesser-included defense. What is relevant are the facts of the case, not the plea.

The more relevant applicable section is Family Code section 4320(l), which experienced divorce attorneys argue in court. This subsection says the courts “must” hear evidence of domestic violence between the “parties” (the legislation does not specifically say spouses). Thus, section 3600 of the California Family Code, applies to temporary spousal support and it states courts may order any amount of spousal support necessary that is consistent with either section 4320(l) and/or (m) or section 4325.

The take away in this is that the courts may make spousal support orders consistent with either or both relevant section/subsections, that there is no mandated five year time bar in section 4320 and that domestic violence may be used as a defense to judgment or temporary orders for spousal support.

How To Protect Your Kids When You Are A Victim Of Domestic Violence

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

restraining order attorney Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmIf you are in an abusive relationship and have children, it is very important to distance yourself and them from your abusive partner. Distancing yourself through divorce may very well be your best option.  Even though the thought may have crossed your mind several times, it is likely time to take action. Get the courage to file for divorce, but before you do, take these steps to protect your kids and yourself:

1.     Report Abuse to the Police and Maintain Records

If your partner is violent, keep records of every incident involving him (or her) stored in a secret place. Abuse can be in the form of physical or emotional, so either record or take pictures to exhibit in court. Also, write down the time, date, and place with the description of the altercation between you and your partner. The records will come in handy when you are fighting for custody of your kids, especially if you did not previously report such incidents to the police.  Do not hesitate to call the police if you have been physically abused!

2.     Have a Safe Residence to Go To And Then File For a Restraining Order

After you have filed for divorce, you need a place where you can take your kids at least temporarily until you can take further legal action.  Consider filing a restraining order to protect you and your children, which can prevent your partner from going to your home and the children’s schools.  In a restraining order, you can request exclusive use, possession and control of the marital residence, with a kick-out order requiring your partner to vacate the marital residence.  Such orders are then enforceable by the police and the court.

3.     Seek Sole Custody of Your Children Under the Restraining Order

If your partner becomes too abusive towards you or your kids, don’t wait to file for custody; do it immediately under the request for a restraining order. The court can grant you with such restraining orders that can give you custody of your kids and orders your partner to stay away at the same time.

4.     Seek Control of Visitation Rights

If your partner has not abused the kids, he/she may be permitted to see them. However, if you are still concerned, you can ask the judge for supervised visits if they are appropriate under the circumstances of your case.  If you don’t want the kids to see their mom/dad at their residence, you can ask them to agree to meet them in public such as a restaurant, park, or even the police station.

5.     Get Legal Assistance

People struggling with emotional and physical abuse need to get out of the relationship fast.  Don’t wait to get legal help.  Seek legal assistance at the first signs of abuse. The safety of your child is what’s important here.  Consult a divorce firm to help you. If you don’t have enough money, you can always go to a shelter. The shelter will find you the legal help you need.

Domestic Violence Victims Should Seek Legal Help in Riverside County

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm Every week police are called to homes where spouses and children are affected by domestic violence. Alternatives to Domestic Violence in Riverside County has seen an increase of victims throughout the state, a need for more donations for their emergency shelter, and kids and spouse’s whose lives are at risk. Their crisis line has received up to 7,000 calls a year from people needing help. October is Domestic Violence prevention month and reminds us as a society that we need to be mindful of the millions of women and men who suffer physical and emotional pain from their intimate partner. Riverside has many resources to help domestic violence victims and perpetrators get back on the path to better life. Alternatives to Domestic Violence, for example, runs the Casa de Paz shelter where victims can have a short-term, stable living environment and get counseling and education services. If a person and their child do not actively seek help and legal action, the domestic violence can turn deadly. Emotional, physical, and other types of abuse often lead to more aggressive forms of abuse. The CDC’s Violence Prevention campaign says that many of the perpetrators have a substance abuse history, carry a weapon, and have a mental health issue. A person can initiate divorce proceedings when this is the best course of action to cut ties with the perpetrator. At the same time, individuals can request a restraining order, ask for custody and child support, and discuss concerns about visitations with the child. California courts want to protect the child and spouse from any further harm. If mediation is ordered by the judge, a spouse can take a support person with them to be there as the child custody and other matters are decided with the ex. In cases where a person does not feel safe, an individual can ask to speak with the mediator separately so that the issues with the abusive ex do not halt the proceedings. The courts will want the perpetrator to undergo counseling to improve their behavior. Perpetrators must comply with the court orders to be able to have monitored visitation or custody in the future. Victims should get legal representation to assist with their divorce and family law matters. Riverside County family law attorney Gerald Maggio is a strong ally for a spouse and their children with domestic violence concerns. Gerald A. Maggio is an Irvine and Riverside County divorce attorney.  To learn more about Riverside County divorce lawyer, Gerald A. Maggio, visit Maggiolawfirm.com or call (949) 553-0304.

High Levels of Domestic Violence and Divorce in California Prompt Legal Action

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

Sadly, one in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. Each year, 1.3 million women will be victims of physical assault, according to the Alternatives to Domestic Violence organization in Riverside, Calif. California’s domestic violence shelters had more hotline calls in 2010, with an average of 5,261 individuals needing their services and support.

The recession has caused financial and marriage stressors to increase, and victims sometimes feel they have no escape route to improve their life. A recent Orange County domestic violence case emphasizes the need for legal counsel when dealing with divorce, child custody and restraining order concerns. Travis C. Unholz, an Orange County sheriff’s deputy, recently pushed his wife to the floor and she hit her head. The couple’s two children were at home during the argument. The wife called the sheriff’s department and they arrested Unholz. He was able to post bail, was charged with domestic violence, but then tried to buy a gun. He asked a friend to help him buy an automatic weapon, survival kit, and call his wife. All these actions violated the bail conditions.

Unholz now is charged with a litany of felony and misdemeanor charges – domestic battery, violation of a protective order and attempted possession of a firearm, sentencing enhancement for crime-bail-crime – and could face six or more years in state prison.

Every victim of domestic violence has the right to seek legal guidance and court protections to overcome a traumatic situation. If there are children involved, a restraining order can be requested to protect you and the children. Custody, visitation and child support orders can be requested at the same time, as well.

If you have been a victim of domestic violence, you have a right to look to the court for protection. There are several different types of restraining orders that can provide domestic violence victims with this kind of protection. If a judge wants a mediation to decide on these matters, an individual will want to bring their divorce lawyer and a support person. Sometimes it is even best to meet with the mediator separately, depending on what type of abuse has occurred.

Current California statutes call for custody to be granted in line with the best interests of the child. Domestic violence that has been done in the previous five years does not bode well for the perpetrating parent seeking any type of custody. Only if the perpetrator can provide sufficient evidence that he has completed a batterer’s treatment program, an alcohol or drug abuse counseling program, parenting classes, and complied with a restraining order, will the courts perhaps consider joint custody.

One of the most prominent divorce and family law offices, The Maggio Law Firm in Riverside and Irvine, Calif., is skilled in representing a client’s and child’s best interests. Their firm will ensure that all of the proper documents are filed, any questions that a judge might ask will be done so in a quick, proactive manner, and will assist with any unusual circumstances that might come up in the divorce and child custody hearings.

Gerald Maggio, their lead Riverside County domestic violence attorney, recommends individuals get help early on who are being abused. He represents domestic violence victims that are married, have domestic partnerships, in dating relationships, and same-sex partnerships. Their exceptional legal counsel will aggressively advocate for an individual and child’s legal and human rights.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Orange Country divorce lawyer, Gerald A. Maggio, by visiting Maggiolawfirm.com or calling (949) 553-0304.

A Closer Look at Orange County Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

If you have been a victim of domestic violence, you have a right to look to the Court for protection. There are several different types of restraining orders that can provide domestic violence victims with this kind of protection.

Being a victim of domestic violence can be a stressful and traumatic ordeal. However, there are legal ways to ease the stress and trauma by ensuring that further harm does not come to the victim. A domestic violence restraining order is a court order that protects a person from being abused or harmed by another person.

To qualify for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order you must have a relationship with the person you are seeking the order against. This relationship must be one of the following:

  • Married Couples (sometime known as Spousal Abuse)
  • Couples who cohabit
  • Persons who have a child or children in common
  • Persons currently in a dating relationship or who were in a former dating relationship
  • Persons who were formerly married to each other

In California, the victims of domestic violence can obtain three different types of restraining orders: an Emergency Protective Order, a Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order, or a Criminal Protective Order.

An Emergency Protective Order (EPO) is issued by law enforcement and is only valid for a short amount of time, usually less than one week. This type of restraining order is particularly useful for victims of domestic violence, as it provides them with immediate protection after an incident has occurred. These types of restraining orders usually arise when the police have responded to a domestic violence call.

A Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is another short term restraining order valid for no more than 21 days. While these restraining orders only cover a short period of time, they can be made permanent for 1 to 3 years. The purpose of a TRO is to provide the victim with protection until a hearing can be held and a permanent restraining order can be issued.

A Criminal Protective Order can be obtained through the District Attorney’s office and is issued in active domestic violence criminal cases. Under this kind of restraining order, the individual the order is issued against is not to have any contact with the victim.

Each type of restraining order must be court-ordered, so you will have to go to court to prove your domestic violence case. It is important to have an attorney who can represent your best interests. An experienced family law attorney will ensure that all of the proper documents have been filed, will be able to handle any questions a judge might have, and will help you deal with any unusual circumstances that arise.

Gerald A. Maggio is an Orange County divorce attorney, in Irvine, California.   For more information or to schedule a consultation with Orange County divorce lawyer Gerald Maggio, contact The Maggio Law Firm by calling (949) 553-0304 or visiting www.maggiolawfirm.com.

Children Used in Emotional Abuse Ploys

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law Firm

Sadly, many children are used as pawns in divorce proceedings. Emotional abuse can wreak havoc on them.

Caught up in the throes of divorce, some people don’t stop to think that they may be using their children as emotional pawns; taking their own anger and hurt out on the kids. This is a difficult position for a child to be in; emotionally and psychologically. Those who would abuse a child may find Child Protective services stepping into the picture.

A child is considered to be the victim of emotional/psychological abuse when they are subjected to acts/omissions on the part of the parents, or other responsible caretakers, that caused or could cause serious mental problems, emotional difficulties, behavioral problems or cognitive disorder. Even if there is no harm to a child’s condition or behavior, Child Protective services may still step in.

Unfortunately, there are many types of punishment divorcing parents hand out that may range from the extreme and downright bizarre to less severe actions such as rejecting the child or constantly using them as a scapegoat. The parent is considered to be guilty of emotional abuse if they are unable or unwilling to respond to their child’s needs or rejects them. They are guilty of psychological abuse if the child is witness to spousal abuse, if the child is told they can take drugs or alcohol, or if the parent(s) refuse or fail to offer proper psychological care.

Emotional and psychological abuse takes on other forms as well, such as economic power over another or dependence dominance.  In cases that involve economic power or dominance, the kids are often used to wield power over the other spouse; to control them. Instead of directing their anger at the other spouse, the child is the target of abuse in order to cause the other partner severe distress.

The abuse may take on many forms such as yelling, screaming, shouting, threatening gestures, actions or looks. No matter what it takes to frighten the other spouse, the abuser will do it and use a child for the primary target to get at the spouse. Some abusers have been known to utter threats of taking the child without their knowledge, harming the child, or even making insinuations they would commit suicide.

If you are in an abusive relationship, you do not have to live in fear. There is help available by working with a skilled and compassionate attorney who is familiar with situations like this. Domestic violence must be dealt with promptly and decisively. Do not wait to get help.

If you live in California, you need to understand that domestic violence has a direct impact on child custody disputes. If you are facing a divorce and have been accused of domestic abuse/violence, it is critically important that you do everything possible to prevent a conviction if you wish to retain custody or visitation rights with your children.

Speak to a dedicated attorney who represents men and women who have been victimized by or who have been accused of domestic violence in marriage, domestic partnerships, dating relationships and same-sex partnerships. In trying times, a strong, aggressive advocate is the best ally for individuals involved in domestic violence cases.

Gerald A. Maggio is an Orange County divorce attorney, in Irvine, California. For more information or to schedule a consultation with Orange County divorce lawyer Gerald Maggio, contact The Maggio Law Firm by calling (949) 553-0304 or visiting www.maggiolawfirm.com.

California Stalking Illegal

Posted by: Gerald Maggio

Top Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law Firm

Stalking is one of the most frightening behaviors a person may experience. One out of every twelve women and one out of every forty-five men will be stalked at least once during their lives.

Stalking in the 21st century isn’t just what we have come to associate as being the “typical” stalker-like behavior. Now, thanks to the advent of the Internet, there is also a category of stalker referred to as cyber stalkers. It too is illegal, and it is a great deal more difficult to catch and prosecute an online stalker.

The typical definition of a stalker refers to a person who wants to force a relationship on a victim. In most instances, the relationship is not wanted, which is usually the trigger for the stalking behavior; actions that include vandalizing the victim’s property, threatening or harassing the victim, obsessive messaging either by cell phone or online, or obsessive phone calling at all hours of the day and night. Some stalkers define their modus operandi by delivering certain types of gifts that they know will upset their target.

Stalking is one of the most gut-wrenching experiences any man or woman will ever go through. The feeling of fear, loss of control of their lives, the physical stress and anxiety, and the emotional rollercoaster many victims ride while being stalked takes a significant toll on their health and mental well-being. Victims may experience extreme fatigue, depression, intense fear, anger, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, overwhelming helplessness, and yo-yo weight problems.

In some instances, stalkers don’t realize what they are doing; don’t understand that they are doing something wrong. Their perception is that they are doing something that other person should like and don’t comprehend why their advances are met with such violent reactions. Put another way, they are ignorant as to how their actions affect others. Nonetheless, stalking in California is still illegal. In fact, California was the first state to make stalking a criminal act in 1990.

The rest of the states now have similar laws in place to deal with stalkers, however each state also approaches the definition of a criminal act differently. For instance, some states call stalking illegal only if the stalker endangers or threatens the victim. There are also 13 states that charge the first count of stalking as a misdemeanor and subsequent charges as felonies. It’s best to ask a qualified attorney what laws are applicable to stalkers in your state. Shockingly, every year, there are approximately 2 million felony and 4 million misdemeanor stalking charges.

Gerald A. Maggio is an Orange County divorce attorney, in Irvine, California.  For more information or to schedule a consultation with Orange County divorce lawyer Gerald Maggio, contact The Maggio Law Firm by calling (949) 553-0304 or visiting www.maggiolawfirm.com.