(Ch. 588, adding Family Code §297, et. seq.)
This bill creates a new statewide registration of domestic partners who are two unmarried adults who are either of the same sex or, if they are over 62 and qualify for Social Security benefits, are of the opposite sex. They must have a
(1) common residence,
(2) agree to be jointly responsible for each other's “basic living expenses,”
(3) be unmarried, not a member of another domestic partnership and have terminated any prior domestic partnerships with the Secretary of State,
(4) be unrelated by blood and be at least 18
(5) be capable of consenting to the partnership and
(6) both must file a declaration of domestic partnership with the Secretary of State.
Forms to register and terminate are available from Secretary of State offices and county clerks. Benefits of partnership are hospital visitation rights and heath benefits to state and local employees. Termination of partnership occurs through any of the following:
(1) one partners gives or sends by certified mail a written notice of termination,
(2) death of a partner
(3) marriage of a partner
(4) the partners cease to live together.
Before either of the partners can register a new partnership, one of them must file a notice of termination with the Secretary of State and at least six months must elapse after the filing of the termination notice unless the previous partnership ended due to death or marriage.
AB 59 (Cedillo) – Restraining Orders for Elder/Dependent Adults
(Ch. 561, amending Family Code §§ 6250, 6251, 6252, 6380, amending Penal Code § 273.6, adding Welfare & Institutions Code § 15657.03)
This bill allows courts to issue Emergency Protective Orders or civil protective orders (Welfare & Institutions Code § 15657.03) when an elder or dependent adult is in immediate and present danger of abuse, defined in Welfare and Institutions Code §15610.07.
AB 196 (Kuehl) Creation of New Statewide Office of Child Support Services
(Ch. 478, adding Family Code § 17200)
This bill, in conjunction with SB 542 (Burton, Ch. 480) and AB 150 (Aroner, Ch. 479), completely revamps California's child support program. There will be a new state department of Child Support Services, located within the Health and Human Services Agency, which will be responsible for all aspects of child support. It will begin on January 1, 2000. All local child support programs must transfer from the district attorneys to new local county child support departments of child support services between 1-1-2001 and 1-1-2003. Local programs must comply with requirements established by the state Department. The Franchise Tax Board will be responsible for managing child support delinquencies that are more than 60 days late and over $100.
AB 207 (Thomson) Recording of Restraining Order Violations
(Ch. 367, adding Penal Code § 633.6)
Permits the judge in a restraining order case, upon application from the petitioner, to include a provision in the order that permits the abuse victim to record any prohibited communication made to him or her by the abuser (without fear that they will be charged with illegal wiretapping).
AB 391 (Jackson) Domestic Violence & Spousal Support
(Ch. 846, amending Family Code § 4320)
This bill requires the court when considering the age and health of the parties to determine spousal support, to include the consideration of emotional distress resulting from domestic violence against the supported party where the court finds documented evidence of a history of domestic violence. (This bill incorporated provisions of AB 808 (Strom-Martin), which it superseded because the Governor signed it after signing AB 808, and both amended the same Family Code section.)
AB 606 (Jackson) Victim Witness Funds for Relocation or Residential Security in D.V. Cases
(Ch. 584, amending §§ 13961.1, 13965, and adding and repealing §13968.5 of the Government Code; and amending Penal Code § 1202.4)
Would allow victim witness centers to pay/reimburse abuse survivors up to $2000 in relocation expenses, within 30 days of applying for the funds, including but not limited to: utility deposits; rent deposits; temporary food and lodging (up to $1000) or clothing and personal items (up to $500). The victim must agree not to inform the perpetrator of the new location of her residence; not permit the perpetrator to be on the premises or agree to get a restraining order against the abuser. Law enforcement or a mental health provider must verify that the expenses are necessary for the personal safety or emotional well-being of the victim. Also would allow up to $1000 the expense of installing or increasing residential security if the crime occurred in the victim's residence. (NOTE: To be eligible for victim-witness funds, the domestic violence must have been reported to the police) Victim witness assistance received shall not disqualify an otherwise eligible victim from participation in any other public assistance program. Would also allow judges in criminal cases to order convicted defendants to pay restitution to the victim for, among other losses, costs of relocation or increasing residential security. If the victim is permanently disabled as a direct result of the crime, a cash payment can be authorized for the expense of renovating or retrofitting his or her residence or vehicle, subject to specified conditions. This payment is not to exceed $5,000.00.
AB 673 (Honda) Supervised Visitation Centers
(Ch. 1004, adding Family Code §§ 3201, 3202, 3203 and 3204)
Permits the family law division of a superior court to set up/contract for supervised visitation/exchange programs, parent education, and group counseling programs, subject to obtaining funding, and requires the Judicial Council to apply for such funding from the federal government.
AB 825 (Keeley) Domestic Violence Restraining Order System
(Ch. 661, amending Code of Civil Procedure §§527.6, 527.8; Family Code §§ 145, 6221, 6380, 6380.5, 6381, and 6383; Penal Code § 136.2, 836, 13701, 13711, and Welfare & Institutions Code §213.5)
This bill renames the Domestic Violence Protective Order Registry the Domestic Violence Restraining Order System. Requires civil harassment orders, workplace violence restraining orders, domestic violence restraining orders, criminal stay away orders and juvenile court restraining orders to be issued on forms created by the Judicial Council and approved by the Department of Justice, and entered into the Domestic Violence Protective Order Registry. Only orders that are on the approved forms may be transmitted to the Department of Justice for entry into the Domestic Violence Protective Order Registry, except for out-of-state orders. This bill makes the system applicable to only protective and restraining orders issued on forms adopted by the Judicial Council and approved by the Department of Justice.
AB 840 (Kuehl) Presumption Against Custody to a Batterer
(Ch. 445, adding Family Code § 3044)
Creates a rebuttable presumption that an award of sole or joint physical or legal custody to a person who has perpetrated domestic violence within the past 5 years is detrimental to the best interests of the child. In determining whether the presumption has been overcome, the court shall consider: whether the perpetrator of domestic violence has demonstrated that giving sole custody to the perpetrator is in the best interest of the child; whether the perpetrator has successfully completed a specified batterer's treatment program, a program of alcohol or drug abuse counseling, or a parenting class, where the court deems it appropriate; if the perpetrator is on probation or parole, whether he or she is restrained by a protective order granted after a hearing, and whether he or she has complied with its terms or conditions; whether the perpetrator of domestic violence has committed any further acts of domestic violence. In cases in which both parents are perpetrators, the presumption shall not apply.
AB 1111 (Aroner) Homelessness Assistance
(Ch. 147, amending Welfare & Institutions Code § 11450(f)(2)(E)(iii))
Homelessness assistance is now available once every 12 months (instead of every 2 years) in domestic violence cases.
AB 1671 (Committee on Judiciary) Domestic Violence & Custody; Absence from Family Home, Extended Time for Notice in Restraining Order Cases
(Ch. 980, amending Family Code §§ 215, 243, 3011, 3020, 3021, 4065, 4508, 6341, 17400, adding Family Code §§126, 3046, 5000, 5001, 5002, 17523; amending Revenue and Taxation Code §§ 19271.6, 19272 and 19273; amending Welfare and Institutions Code §§213.5 , 11475.1; amending and renumbering Welfare and Institutions Code §18205; adding Welfare and Institutions Code §11350.75
Clarifies that Family Code §§ 3011, 3020, 3021 apply to both legal and physical custody determinations. Adds that if a party is absent or relocates from family residence, this should not be considered in Custody determinations absence or relocation is: (1) of short duration and parent showed an interest in maintaining custody/visitation; (2) due to domestic violence from the other party. (If reason for absence is because party was the restrained party in a restraining order, their absence may be considered.) Allows court to require child support obligor to establish a financial institution account for the purpose of paying the child support obligation by electronic funds transfer. Makes restraining orders issued in juvenile court good for up to 3 years (instead of one). Clarifies that child support may be ordered as part of a restraining order case, whether or not the parties are married. (Family Code §6341) Amends Family Code §243(b) to require that an ex-parte order issued under Family Code §240 (which includes domestic violence restraining orders) be served 5 days before the hearing, rather than 2. (The court may still shorten time to 2 days on a motion by the petitioner under Family Code §243(e).)
SB 56 (Solis) Employment protections for persons who take off work to testify to seek assistance in a domestic violence situation
(Ch 340, amending Labor Code § 230 of the Labor Code)
This law prohibits discrimination or retaliation against an employee who takes time off to serve as a juror or a witness in any judicial proceeding including, one who is the victim of a crime. This bill also provides that an employer may not discharge, discriminate, or retaliate against an employee who is a domestic violence victim for taking time off of work to “obtain or attempt to obtain any relief, including, but not limited to, a temporary restraining order, restraining order or other injunctive relief to help ensure the health, safety, or welfare of a domestic violence victim or his or her child.” The employee is required to give reasonable notice to the employer, except where there is an emergency, in which case the employer shall not take any action against the employee if, within a reasonable time after the appearance, s/he provides evidence from the court or prosecuting attorney that s/he has appeared in court. An employee may use vacation, personal leave ,or compensatory time off for any of the above stated purposes, except where otherwise stated in a collective bargaining agreement. However, a collective bargaining agreement in no way limits the entitlements of employees under this section.
SB 69 (Murray) Stalking and Criminal Court Continuances
(Ch. 580, amending Penal Code § 1050)
Adds stalking cases to the list of cases for which a prosecuting attorney can request a continuance due to a previous conflicting court proceeding.
SB 218 (Solis) Mandatory arrest for restraining order violations; referrals to probation-approved batterer's counseling in family court; translation of restraining order forms; firearm restrictions
(Ch. 662, amending Code of Civil Procedure § 185, amending Family Code §§ 6304, 6343, 6380.5 and 6389, amending Health and Safety Code § 12451, amending Penal Code §§ 166, 273(d), 273.5, 273.6, 836, 1328, 11163.3, 12021 and 120028.5, repealing Penal Code §§ 273.55 and 273.56, adding Penal Code § 11163.6)
This bill requires the Judicial Council, by July 1, 2001, to make domestic violence forms available in languages other than English. (Code of Civil Procedure § 185) It changes the provision on court ordered batterer's counseling in Family Code § 6343 to require participation in a probation-approved program, and deletes the provision authorizing the court to order counseling for the protected party.
This bill requires the court, in consultation with local domestic violence shelters and programs, to develop a resource list of referrals to domestic violence programs and services to be provided to each applicant for a restraining order. (Family Code § 6343(b).) It clarifies prior law requiring a peace officer to arrest persons who violate restraining orders when an officer has probable cause to believe that the person subject to the order has notice of the order. (Penal Code § 836) Adds restraining orders issued by military courts to the group of orders that must be entered into the Domestic Violence Restraining Order System.
Requires that the court, when issuing a protective order, inform the respondent that he/she is prohibited from owning, possessing or attempting to own or possess a firearm.(Fam. Code § 6304) It prohibits a person subject to a protective order from owning, possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm while the order is in effect. (Fam. Code § 6389) (A hearing is no longer required to determine whether the firearm should be removed.) It states that a violation of an order by owning, possessing, etc., a gun is punishable by a misdemeanor or felony. It defines contempt of court as knowingly owning, possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm in violation of certain protective orders, except as noted and provides for punishment of this contempt consistent with the penal code. The bill authorizes the court to allow a peace officer to continue to carry a firearm, either on or off duty if his employment and personal safety depends on the ability to carry a firearm and the court finds by preponderance of the evidence that the officer does not pose a threat of harm. Prior to making the finding, the court shall require a psychological evaluation of the peace officer. (Family Code § 6389(h).)
This bill expands criminal contempt and criminal penalties for violating a protective order. Changes from discretionary to mandatory the removal of firearms at the scene of domestic violence incidents Makes it a misdemeanor for every person to own or possess a firearm Knowing that he or she is subject to a protective order or injunction as specified, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by both that fine and imprisonment. The law provides that when a court grants probation for firearms violations of a protective order as described, probation shall be consistent with provisions of the Penal Code regarding probation for domestic violence.
The law requires judicial council to provide notice on all protective orders that the respondent is prohibited form owning, possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm while the order is in effect.
Changes the definition of "abuse" in Penal Code §12028.5 to be consistent with the definition in the Family Code §6203. Replaces the definition of "family violence" and "family or household member" with a definition for "domestic violence" consistent with Family Code §6211.The bill makes the violation of an out of state restraining order contempt of court (Penal Code § 166) and a crime (Penal Code § 273.6).
The bill increases penalties for repeat offenders of domestic violence (Penal Code § 273.5).
The bill authorizes, but does not require, disclosure by the county interagency domestic violence death review team members of otherwise confidential or privileged information regarding the victim or any other information deemed relevant to members of that team, including the attorney-client privilege, psychotherapist-client privilege, domestic violence victim counselor privileged, and the sexual assault victim-counselor privilege if the information is about a person who died as a result of or was likely the result of domestic violence, a minor or person convicted of causing a death in connection with domestic violence. Penal Code § 11163.3 criminalizes the unapproved release of information obtained by the team. Penal Code § 11163.6 requires that data is collected and summarized to show the statistical occurrence of all domestic violence deaths in the team's county that occur as a result of domestic violence, or are related to domestic violence. Permits a court in a criminal case to appoint a guardian ad litum to receive a subpoena on behalf of a child.
SB 355 (Hughes) Community College & School District Peace Officers Can Seek EPO’s
(Ch. 659, amending Family Code § 6240, Penal Code §§ 13519, 13700, 13710, 646.91, 12028.5; adding Family Code § 6250.5)
This bill adds Community College police officers or school district police officers to the kinds of peace officers who can respond to domestic violence calls and seek emergency protective orders.
SB 403 (Romero) Free Police Reports for Victims
(Ch. 1022, adding Family Code § 6228)
This law requires law enforcement agencies to give domestic violence victims one free copy of any incident report involving domestic violence. They must produce a copy of the face sheet within 48 hours and the Entire incident report within 5 days of being requested.
SB 433 (Johnson) Custody Evaluators and Domestic Violence Training
(Ch. 932, amending Family Code § 3111 and adding Family Code § 3110.5)
Revises provisions on child custody investigators to authorize a court to appoint a child custody evaluator in contested custody/visitation proceedings, and requires custody evaluators to have domestic violence training as specified in Family Code § 1816 and Rules of Court 1257.3 and 1257.7.
SB 563 (Speier) Increased Penalties for Domestic Partner Battery; Expansion of Persons Protected by Felony Domestic Violence
(Ch. 660, amending Penal Code §§243, 273.5)
Increases punishment for battery of domestic partners, Penal Code §243(e), for repeat offenders. Expands persons protected by Penal Code §273.5 (felony domestic violence) to include former spouses and cohabitants.
SB 668 (Sher) Replacing UCCJA with the UCCJEA
(Ch. 876, adding § 3135 to, and repealing and adding Part 3, beginning with § 3400 of Division 8 of the Family Code)
Replaces the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which specifies the procedures and requirements for California courts' jurisdiction over child custody matters where the court of another state may have jurisdiction. The UCCJEA provides a California Court exclusive jurisdiction for making initial child custody determinations, permits a California court to assume temporary, emergency jurisdiction in specified cases, provides that the California court jurisdiction is exclusive and continuous until specified events occur. It prohibits modification of a custody decision made under the Act of the courts of another state in the absence of specified determinations. It revises and recasts the factors to be considered by the court in determining if it is an inconvenient forum. It creates specified exceptions to the courts right to decline to exercise its jurisdiction and authorizes the court, if it declines to exercise jurisdiction, to fashion appropriate remedies to ensure the child's safety and prevent a repetition of the unjustifiable conduct. It does not govern adoption or authorization of emergency medical care for a child proceedings. (PRACTICE TIP: The UCCJEA requires that the first pleading in any case involving custody, including petitions for restraining orders, include a list of all addresses the child(ren) have lived in the past 5 years, and the names and current addresses, unless unsafe, of the persons the child(ren) lived with, as well as any past litigation concerning the child.)
SB 792 (Ortiz) – Limits on Ordering Supervised Visitation for Parents Who Report Child Sexual Abuse
(Ch 985, adding Family Code §§ 3201 and 3027.5)
This law prevents a court from placing a parent on supervised visitation, or denying or limiting their custody or visitation solely because the parent lawfully reported suspected sexual abuse of the child or took other actions with respect to suspected sexual abuse of the child. The court is authorized to limit a parent's custody or visitation rights if it finds substantial evidence that the parent made a false report of suspected child sexual abuse, if that limitation would be in the best interest of the child, and if the court has considered the state's policy of assuring that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. Any supervised visitation ordered by the court shall be administered in accordance with § 26.2 of the California Standards of Judicial Administration recommended by the Judicial Council.
SB 874 (Escutia) – Family Law Centers
(Ch. 886, amending Family Code §§ 15010 and 15012)
This bill funds family law information centers in three (3) pilot Project courts. The purpose of this program is to provide information to unrepresented low-income family law litigants. The Judicial Council administers this program. This bill appropriates $300,000.00 to the Judicial Council for the support of family law information centers.
SB 1250 (Escutia) Restitution to include mental health therapy expenses
(Ch. 121, amending Penal Code § 1202.4)
This bill specifies that mental health therapy expenses are included in The specified expenses to be considered when determining the amount of economic loss for purposes of imposing an order of restitution by a victim of crime against the convicted perpetrator of the crime.
Catherine Carroll, Family Violence Law Center
Meghan Crowell, Battered Women's Alternatives
Minouche Kandel, Bay Area Legal Aid
Heather Krause, Battered Women's Alternatives
Robin Runge, Domestic Violence & Employment Project, Legal Aid Society of San Francisco - Employment Law Center
California Alliance Against Domestic Violence
926 J Street, Suite 1000
Sacramento, CA 95814
Information obtained from the Support Network for Battered Women
Intimate Partner Violence Home
For more information please call (213) 351-7888