For purposes of criminal law:
California domestic violence laws define “domestic violence” as abuse against an “intimate partner.”
In California, an intimate partner can be any of the following people:
- A current or former spouse,
- A current or former registered domestic partner,
- A current or former fiancé(e),
- A current or former live-in romantic partner (a “cohabitant”),
- A person with whom the accused has, or has had, a child, or
- Someone the accused is seriously dating or was in a dating relationship with in the past.
Intimate partners may be those engaged in either a hetero or homosexual relationship. Additionally, cohabitants may have no romantic link. Instead, two unrelated roommates living together can be considered cohabitating. You can also cohabitate with more than one other person at the same time.
Dating relations that are not sexual can also be considered an intimate partner. So long as there is an expectation of affection between the parties, the relationship can form the basis for a domestic battery charge.
For purposes of custody disputes:
The California Family Code has a longer list of people who can be considered victims of domestic violence. In addition to partners in an intimate relationship, victims can include:
- The defendant’s child, or
- Any other person related by to the defendant by consanguinity (blood) or affinity (marriage) within the second degree, including:
- Brothers and sisters,
- Half-brothers and half-sisters,
- Step-brothers and step-sisters,
- Aunts and uncles, and
- Nephews and nieces.