Domestic violence is a serious issue impacting many San Diego family cases. While all accusations of domestic violence should be taken seriously, they do not all have the same impact when it comes to the outcome of divorce and custody actions. The Courts will, generally, consider relatively recent evidence that a person engaged in domestic violence when determining how to resolve disputed issues in custody matters, as explained in a recent ruling issued by a California Court. The Court can also consider a pattern of conduct including convictions for domestic violence under Penal Code Section 273.5 among others. If you want to understand how allegations that you or your co-parent engaged in acts of domestic violence may alter your custody rights, it is critical to consult a San Diego child custody attorney as soon as possible.
Factual and Procedural Background of the Case
Reportedly, the mother, who was married to the father, filed a petition for dissolution of the marriage in 2015. Six years after the filing, the Court conducted a six-day trial on the issues of custody and visitation. It then issued a final custody order in which it granted the parents joint physical and legal custody of their daughter, who was seven years old at the time.
It is alleged that the mother objected to the order, arguing that the Court erred in granting the father parental rights, as California Family Code 3044 presumes that a party that committed domestic violence within the past five years should not be granted physical or legal custody of a child. The mother asserted that the five-year period in question should run backward from the date the petition for dissolution of marriage was filed instead of from the time the Court issued the custody order. The Court rejected this argument, defining it as impractical construction. The mother then appealed. Continue reading