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Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders

Ms. Meinhardt is passionately dedicated to protecting the physical and emotional safety of not only her own clients, but their family members and children. She possesses intricate knowledge of domestic violence issues and has extensive experience successfully obtaining restraining orders and also representing clients accused of domestic violence.

Under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (California Family Code §6200 et. seq.), domestic violence charges cover a broad range of abuse, including, but not limited to, sexual assault, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, battering, harassing, telephoning, destroying personal property, and disturbing the peace. Any threatening or violent act, even if the accused did not intend to harm or compromise the safety and the security of the victim, can be grounds for prosecution under California Domestic Violence Laws. California family courts are empowered to prohibit the recurrence of acts of abuse by a batterer by issuing restraining orders.

Although California is a no-fault state regarding divorce, a domestic violence conviction can have a major impact on a divorce. When a spouse has been convicted of domestic violence against the other, there is a rebuttable presumption that the convicted spouse, or domestic violence perpetrator, should not receive an award of spousal support.

Domestic violence can also have an impact on the division of property during a divorce. If the domestic violence resulted in an unreasonable depletion of marital assets, the spouse who suffered the domestic violence may be awarded more of the marital estate, despite the fact that California is a community property state.

Domestic violence also affects child custody. When one parent has been convicted of domestic violence, there is a rebuttable presumption under Family Code §3044 that an award of sole or joint physical or legal custody of a child to a domestic violence perpetrator is detrimental to the best interests of the child. Any visitation to domestic violence perpetrator must be limited, specific, and often supervised.

However, in some cases, Ms. Meinhardt recognizes that domestic violence allegations may be falsely claimed or exaggerated in attempt to gain a strategic advantage in a divorce. Ms. Meinhardt will vigorously challenge the evidence to ascertain the truth and assure that clients are protected from true danger or protected from false allegations.