What is Coercive Control and is it Domestic Violence?


California has amended the Domestic Violence Prevention Act to clarify that “disturbing the peace of the other party” as a basis for obtaining a Domestic Violence Restraining Order includes “coercive control.”

Examples of coercive control include, but are not limited to, unreasonably engaging in any of the following: (1) Isolating the other party from friends, relatives, or other sources of support.

(2) Depriving the other party of basic necessities.

(3) Controlling, regulating, or monitoring the other party’s movements, communications, daily behavior, finances, economic resources, or access to services.

(4) Compelling the other party by force, threat of force, or intimidation, including threats based on actual or suspected immigration status, to engage in conduct from which the other party has a right to abstain or to abstain from conduct in which the other party has a right to engage.

Here, the keywords are “unreasonably engaging.” 

Therefore, monitoring the other party’s movements by installing a tracker on the vehicle your spouse drives is now considered domestic violence. This could have implications on the use of other location tracking or phone finder apps that were placed on phones before a separation too. Depriving the other party of basic necessities could easily mean that refusing to provide voluntary child support and/or spousal support (attempting to starve out the other spouse) is now domestic violence. To the spouse who says I’m not going to pay any support until a Judge orders me to, be careful. You may be committing domestic violence.

When considering “controlling economic resources,” it is doubtful that any Judge would find that arguing over whether the family finances can afford a new vehicle qualifies as domestic violence. However, canceling a cell phone could easily be seen as controlling behavior and an attempt to isolate a person.

At the onset of marital separation or break up involving children, it is essential to get immediate legal advice. Even if you don’t end up hiring an attorney, you should know your rights and responsibilities to avoid a mistake that could result in a Domestic Violence Restraining Order being issued against you. Call The Reape-Rickett Law Firm today to meet with an attorney who can help you by calling 888-851-1611 or visiting our Contact Us page today.

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