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New bill in California aims to help domestic violence victims

,California has a new bill that aims to offer expanded protections and rights to the victims of domestic violence -- but not everyone agrees that the bill, if it becomes law, will be helpful.

Senate Bill 1141 passed the state Senate at the end of June and is now before the California Assembly. If passed, the new law would broaden the definition of domestic violence to include behavior that exerts a "coercive control" over one's partner or spouse. Examples of this behavior include (but are not limited to) things like:

  • Isolating the victim from their main sources of support, including friends, relatives and therapists, and limiting the victims' communications
  • Controlling the victim's movements and monitoring their behavior
  • Controlling or monitoring the victim's money or assets
  • Depriving the victim of the basic necessities in some way
  • Forbidding the victim from certain conduct that they have a right to do
  • Forcing the victim to engage in conduct they don't want to do

Does the heat lead to more domestic violence?

Does the summer heat tend to make you surly after a while If so, you aren't alone. Studies have long noted that hot weather seems to coincide with aggressive behavior. Just about every type of criminal activity tends to rise, including assaults, robberies and murders. Science has also discovered that people are just less friendly and more disinclined to be nice to others when the temperatures rise.

If you're living with a spouse who has problems controlling their emotions, the summer heat can literally bring tensions to a boil. However, the heat is not entirely to blame. Aside from the heat, other seasonal factors that may increase the likelihood of domestic violence include:

  • Family pressures, including too much "togetherness" while the kids are home from school or everyone is on a vacation
  • Social drinking, which tends to rise during the summer months as people spend more time relaxing in their yards or with friends
  • Financial frustrations, especially if a family overspends on their vacation or other recreational activities and then runs into a money crisis later

Rethinking a child custody fight

The gloves have come off and your divorce is heating up -- but you and your spouse should really think twice before you engage in a custody battle.

High-conflict divorces (and no divorce involving a custody battle avoids being "high-conflict") have long-lasting, detrimental effects on the kids. They can also be destructive emotionally and financially to the adults.

You just go a bill from your ex-spouse for summer camp: Now what?

Your finances are a little different now that you're divorced. While you'd love to give your child the sun, the moon and the stars on a platter, you can only afford so much. Your child support payments already take a pretty hefty chunk out of your paycheck every month.

That makes the bill you just received from your ex-spouse a big shock. They want to your child to participate in a remote-learning "e-camp" or some kind of extended-stay camp this year so that they stay occupied over the summer -- and you're being asked to pay half the cost.

You don't have to live with domestic violence

No one should have to live in fear. Yet, victims of domestic violence do so every day. They lead their lives walking on eggshells, afraid that the wrong word or facial expression could unleash a torrent of abuse.

Anyone who has been abused by their spouse is at risk of another attack. The next eruption of violence could even wind up being fatal. If these words strike fear into your heart, the time to devise an exit strategy is now.

What's child support designed to cover?

When parents split up, child support often becomes a hard-fought issue. The paying parent may feel financially drained, while the receiving parent may feel like they don't get enough.

The tensions that exist between parents over child support can be aggravated because of misunderstandings about how that support can be used. Whether you're paying or receiving child support, here's what you need to know.

Will summer vacation save your marriage?

Summer is finally here! For couples who have been experiencing a lot of marital discord, summer vacation can seem like a pivotal opportunity to get your relationship with your spouse back on track. Even if you and your spouse just have a "staycation" at home, you may have some high hopes that the time together -- minus the stress of your daily routine -- can renew your love and give your marriage the boost it needs to hold together.

Don't count on it, however. Research confirms what divorce attorneys have long believed: New filings for divorces tend to rise right after both the summer and winter vacation periods.

Dividing up the art and collectibles during divorce

You've always been an art lover -- and so has your spouse. You've amassed a significant collection of pieces in your life together. Now that your marriage is ending, however, you have to find a way to split the collection fairly.

This is a common problem that can pertain to just about any kind of collection that you have. Even something that you thought of as entirely "your thing" can become part of an ugly battle for the marital assets. For example, your spouse may never have so much as left a fingerprint on your coin collection but will now claim that half of its contents (or value) is really theirs.

What are the 'best interests of the children' in California?

You're absolutely convinced that your ex is a terrible parent and that the kids would be far better off in your physical care most (or all) of the time. It only seems reasonable to ask the court for sole physical custody.

Before you do that, however, take a moment to make sure that you understand what the court will take into consideration when reviewing your request. You and your ex may have vastly different philosophies about life and approaches to parenting -- but that isn't likely to concern a judge.

Who can apply for a restraining order and how long does it last?

Domestic violence is a serious issue here in the United States. California law defines domestic violence as physical or verbal abuse that a person has received from someone they share a close relationship with. There are instances in which the abuse may get so bad that a victim feels the need to take additional steps to protect themself from further harm. Many individuals look to take out restraining orders in such situations.

California's Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA) is designed to protect a person and any children they have under the age of 18 from physical or sexual assault, molestation, harassment, stalking and battery. DVPA also protects individuals from being subjected to threatening phone calls or having their personal property destroyed.

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