If you don’t think coercion plays a role in domestic violence in California, think again. This tactic may cost you your visitation rights with the children. While many people work hard at their jobs and their relationships with significant others and get ahead on their own merits, there are those who attempt to get ahead by bullying, intimidating and coercing others. Some people may choose to live with this, others ignore it, some tolerate it, and others bear the brunt of it. Typically, when coercion enters the picture in a personal relationship, it isn’t something that improves communication between the parties. It may in fact find one of the parties charged with criminal threatening and on their way to court and perhaps jail. A skilled Orange County divorce attorney will outline this for you if you have been charged with domestic violence. Coercion is defined as forcing someone to act in an involuntary manner by threatening the person with bodily harm if they do not comply. What this means is that if the person feels compelled to act in a certain way out of fear, or because they are afraid of being harmed or hurt, that person may choose to file charges against the person trying to coerce them with threats. Often coercion and criminal intimidation is used in a variety of settings from work to home and from school to social events. It seems to know no boundaries as the aggressor is intent on getting their way at any cost. This kind of violence is more common than we would like to think, particularly in situations where there is a marriage breakdown. This is one of the major reasons that speaking to a seasoned Orange County divorce attorney makes sense. The attorney is able to offer you a variety of options at your disposal to alleviate this situation. Most often the aggressor is the male and rather than try to calmly and fairly settle a dispute, they use coercion to accomplish their goals. They intentionally make others do what they say by telling them if they don’t, they’ll “pay” for it; meaning they’ll be beaten or forced into doing something else. This type of conduct may spill over to other family members, most notably the children. If the person uttering the threats and causing serious harm to others is charged, they may face the possibility of misdemeanor or felony charges. In the more serious cases, there may be fines, jail time or probation. While the perpetrator may think it’s no one’s business but their own what they choose to do and how they choose to act, if they are convicted of this type of crime, it will have a direct impact on visitation rights with their children. If you’re in the midst of a divorce proceeding in California, you will need to consult with your Orange County divorce attorney to find out what your options are under the circumstances. Domestic violence, which includes coercion, has a direct impact on child custody disputes. In fact, California Family Code, Section 3044 states that: “Upon a finding by the court that a party seeking custody of a child has perpetrated domestic violence against the other party seeking custody of the child or against the child or the child’s siblings within the previous five years, there is a rebuttable presumption that an award of sole or joint physical or legal custody of a child to a person who has perpetrated domestic violence is detrimental to the best interest of the child.” Put another way, if you are facing a divorce and have been accused of domestic violence or coercion, it is vitally important that you do everything possible to prevent a conviction if you wish to retain custody or visitation rights with your children. 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.