Domestic violence, in California as well as elsewhere, affects many families. Domestic violence happens more than you would realize, in part because it is so hard to recognize.

The traditional depiction of domestic violence is often a husband beating his wife. While this is indeed a common occurrence of domestic violence, the legal definition of domestic violence is much more broad. First, a domestic violence victim does not have to be a spouse or intimate partner; they just need to be someone who you have or have had an intimate relationship with. This could be a parent of a child you have in common, a family member you live with or have formerly lived with or a partner or spouse you used to be with but no longer are.

Violence is not just defined as physical abuse anymore either. Domestic violence can take the form of physical violence or force, forced sexual contact, verbal, emotional or psychological abuse or attempts at abuse. Stalking, threatening, provoking fear or controlling behaviors are also considered domestic violence, if directed at a domestic victim as defined above or at one you love, such as a child or a pet.

Regardless if the abuser felt they were doing something wrong or if it was intentional or not, these actions harm domestic violence victims.

Luckily, there is action you can take to protect yourself if you are a victim of domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence can file for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. This restraining order is generally a no-contact order, meaning it protects the victim from being contacted by the abuser. It can also include stipulations regarding firearm ownership, temporary financial support for the victim and even order the abuser to move out of the family home.

A Domestic Violence Restraining Order can also enforce custody arrangements and child support payment. If domestic violence issues do not subside after a Domestic Violence Restraining Order is filed, you may be able to have charges pressed against your abuser and have the judge issue a criminal protective order.

If you believe you are a victim of domestic violence, consult with an experienced family law attorney on whether or not a Domestic Violence Protection Order can be filed. If you feel you or your children are in immediate danger from an abuser, call the police right away. The police can help you get an emergency ex-parte restraining order on the spot, which can protect you right away. In any case, don’t wait to take action if you feel you are in serious danger because there are actions you can take to legally protect yourself.

Are you in the Los Angeles area and have questions about domestic violence and restraining orders? Steven Fernandez, Certified Family Law Specialist, has experience handling many complex divorce issues in Los Angeles County. Attorney Steven Fernandez will listen to your story and can ensure your domestic violence issues are dealt with properly during the divorce case, protecting you and your loved ones.

Call our Los Angeles office at 310-564-5710; email us at or contact us through our online form to schedule your free consultation with one of Los Angeles’s premier family law attorneys.