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Trapped With Nowhere To Go

You and your child(ren) are ordered to remain in your home, trapped, but your home is not safe.

This is the reality many people, including San Diegans, are facing after California Governor Newsom’s official March 19, 2020 “stay-at-home” order. Amid the climbing number of new cases and deaths due to COVID-19, San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore also announced to the public that the “social distancing” orders will be more strictly enforced, effectively confining people to their homes.[1]

These restrictions may seem to some as nothing more than prohibiting a relaxing walk along the beach or a vigorous hike in the mountains. To those in abusive relationships, however, these restrictions and the strict enforcement thereof can be life-threatening.

Since the start of the United States’ response to the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been an alarming rise in reports related to spousal or partner abuse and child abuse.[2] Unfortunately, not only is this rise occurring in the United States, but it is occurring internationally as well. The number of reports received throughout the globe has already risen astronomically while on lockdown and is expected to continue doing so.[3]

A number of factors during this pandemic may contribute to the rise in violence because family members have no other option but to spend time together[4]. They are trapped. Some of the factors that may contribute to the rise in abuse include the following: arguments caused by the anxiety and stress of COVID-19; financial stress due to being laid off or furloughed; stress caused by children being home from school; and not having an escape or an outlet to release stress and anger.

Although the courts, in general, are closed until at least April 30, 2020, the courts remain open for limited emergency proceedings. Superior Court of California County of San Diego remains available for the filing of Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Orders (“DVTROs”).[5]

The court’s availability for the filing of DVTROs during the court’s shutdown has unfortunately led to the misuse of DVTROs. DVTROs are now being used to circumvent the legal system to get child custody orders favorable to the Protected Party. Alleged perpetrators, who may have been falsely accused, have had their child(ren) taken from them, or were removed from the marital home, and were left with no avenue for redress. However, as of April 8, 2020, the attorneys at Cage & Miles, LLP will be able to help those who have been falsely accused of domestic violence as a way for the Protected Party to receive favorable custody orders. As of April 8, 2020, the Superior Court of California San Diego will be hearing emergency ex parte requests for DVTROs and other family law matters.[6]

During this unprecedented time, the attorneys at Cage & Miles, LLP are available to consult with victims of abuse and individuals who have been falsely accused of domestic violence. The attorneys at Cage & Miles, LLP have been actively pursuing restraining orders for our clients who are victims of abuse during the COVID-19 outbreak, and will continue to do so when COVID-19 is no longer a threat. The attorneys at Cage & Miles, LLP will also be representing our clients in emergency ex parte family law matters, including those involving false accusations of domestic violence.

If your divorce or family law matter involves domestic violence, we urge you to contact Cage & Miles, LLP today.