Southern California Family Law Blog

Piqui’s Story 

In April 2017, Ana Estevez reported her son Piqui missing after his father failed to show up for a scheduled custody exchange. The parents had been fighting over custody as Ana sought to protect her son from her ex-husband. Officers notified Ana that Piqui’s father Ara Andressian was found unconscious in a park and had been taken to a local hospital, but there was no trace of Piqui. For over 10 weeks, hundreds of law enforcement officers, volunteers, family, and friends worked to search for Piqui. Tragically, in June 2017, two detectives informed Ana that Ara had revealed the location of Piqui’s body. Piqui was murdered at the hands of an abusive parent during a custody dispute. Within a few hours, Piqui was located in Santa Barbara County, left lifeless and abandoned.

Piqui’s Law Introduced to Prioritize Child Safety in Custody Disputes 

Following Piqui’s tragedy, Senator Susan Rubio introduced Piqui’s Law, or Senate Bill 616 (SB 616), to protect innocent children from being murdered by abusive parents during custody battles. As part of a national movement to reform the judicial system, SB 616 will be part of a systemic change so that what happened to Piqui will never happen again. Judges and court employees are in the best positions to help avoid this loss of life. SB 616 will give critical federal funding to California to protect victims of child abuse and domestic violence in the family court system. The bill will also align with federal provisions within the Violence Against Women Act in order to receive funding. 

SB 616 Passed Unanimously by State Assembly 

The bill was heard on June 28, 2022 in the State Assembly Judiciary Committee. On August 15, 2022, in a unanimous, bipartisan 76-0 vote, the State Assembly passed Piqui’s Law into effect. Now, judges and other who perform duties in family law matters must undergo trainings to recognize and respond to domestic violence and child abuse in order to prioritize child safety in custody proceedings. Furthermore, the bill clarifies California’s ban on the use of dangerous reunification programs in family court. It specifies that prohibited ordered family reunification services include reunification therapy, treatments, programs, or workshops that are predicated on cutting off a child from a parent with whom the child is attached. 

The passage of SB 616 is a step in reforming California’s family courts to better protect domestic violence and child abuse survivors. According to the Executive Director of the Center for Judicial Excellence, over 800 children were murdered in the United States since 2008 by a divorcing or separating parent. The bill is supported by dozens of domestic violence and child abuse advocacy groups, as well as other Senators and legislators. 

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you are involved in a custody dispute, contact our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible to see how we can help. With 40+ years of experience, Wallin & Klarich is your best choice amongst Southern California criminal defense firms. Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients in a wide range of family law cases, and we have the skills and resources to secure the best outcome for you

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you. 

Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

Self-Defense in Domestic Violence Cases in California

Domestic violence cases can be tricky, often devolving into a he-said, she-said situation. Sometimes, it can be difficult to recognize when physical actions are necessary in order to protect oneself and when such actions will only make the situation worse. In these cases, there is a thin line between self-defense and domestic violence.

The Difference Be

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Everything You Need to Know About Emancipation in California

Who Can Get Emancipated? 

Emancipation is the process by which teenagers under 18 are granted legal adulthood by the court. Once you are emancipated, you are no longer under the custody of your parents, meaning you can do certain things without your parents’ permission. These include: 
  • Living on your own 
  • Making healthcare decisions 
  • Applying for a work p
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Coercive Control Is Domestic Violence Under California Law

What Is Coercive Control? 

When we think of domestic violence, we often think of physical abuse. However, domestic abuse isn’t always physical. Coercive control is a form of domestic violence in which an abuser uses a pattern of abusive behavior to dominate their partner and limit their partner’s freedom. Although this can involve physical violence, it iContinue Reading.......