A party who has been found to have engaged in domestic violence is presumed to be an unfit parent. Therefore, a finding of domestic violence can negatively effect a parent’s custody rights. A party who is a victim of domestic violence should seek intervention from the police and the courts. The police department has the authority to arrest and remove the abuser, and to issue an emergency protective order. A court has the authority to issue a temporary restraining order, and to order the offending party out of the home, pending a hearing on a permanent injunction.
On the other hand, a party who believes that s/he has been wrongfully accused of domestic violence should seek the advice of an experienced litigator who can protect his or her custody rights. It is not uncommon for one parent to make false allegations of domestic violence in order to gain leverage in a family law proceeding.
False allegations of domestic violence are highly scantionable, and are governed by Family Code section 3027.1. A party who is wrongfully accused of domestic violence may recover all costs involved in defending his or herself. This includes, attorneys fees, travel and lodging expenses, and all other incidental and related expenses. In addition, the wrongfully accused party may recover all attorneys fees incurred in preparation of the defense motion, as well as attorneys fees for time spent in court arguing said motion.