Domestic Violence is Broadly Defined in California

Domestic Violence is broadly defined by Family Code section 6320 and a family law court can restrain and enjoin a person from “molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering, harassing, telephoning, including, but not limited to, annoying telephone calls as described in Section 653m of the Penal Code, destroying personal property, contacting, either directly or indirectly, by mail or otherwise, coming within a specified distance of, or disturbing the peace of the other party, and, in the discretion of the court, on a showing of good cause, of other named family or household members.”

Recently a California Court of Appeal defined “disturbing the peace” in Marriage of Nadkarni (2009) 177 CA 4th 1483. The Court held that abuse under the Domestic Violence Protection Act (DVPA) includes destroying mental or emotional calm of the other party by accessing, reading or publicly disclosing their confidential emails.