Los Angeles family law attorney David Pisarra reviews the book, “A Family’s Heartbreak” by Mike Jeffries.


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What is Battery?

Published on 16 May 2017 by in blog

What is Battery?


Under California Penal Code 242 battery is defined using the following elements:

  • You touched someone else,
  • Willfully
  • In an offensive or harmful manner.

The code does not have any limit on how insignificant the touching is. Deliberate acts from pushing someone, poking a finger in someone’s chest, to a full on physical altercation with someone all fall under the offensive “touching” used by the Penal code to describe battery.

Willfully means that the act was done on purpose and not by accident. For example, a husband and wife get into an argument. The wife picks up a lamp and throws it across the room. The lamp strikes her husband in the head. Although she did not intend to hit her husband with the lamp, she willfully threw the lamp. This would be considered a battery under California law.

Touching in a harmful or offensive manner is described as violent, rude, angry or disrespectful. The requirement that the touching be harmful or offensive is important because it distinguishes a battery crime from insignificant daily touching. For example, me and Dave do not like each other, but we work together. One day he closes a big sale and as I walk by him I say “good job” and pat him on the back. Although he does not like me, and is upset by the fact that I touched him; it is not a battery because the contact was not intentionally offensive or harmful.

Many people confuse assault with battery because the terms are often used together. The difference between assault and battery is simple. An assault creates a fear in the victim of physical harm or unwanted touching, and battery is the actual infliction of physical harm or unwanted touching.

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What Is Assault?

Published on 09 May 2017 by in blog

What Is Assault?


Under California Penal Code 240 assault is an action that may inflict physical harm or unwanted touching on someone else. Further it describes assault using 4 points, or elements that must be proven for an assault to have taken place. They are as follows:

  • You did an act that, by its nature, would probably result directly in the application of force to someone else;
  • You did that act willfully;
  • When you acted, you were aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the act would directly and probably result in the application of force to that person; and
  • When you acted, you had the present ability to apply force to that person.

Notice how no actual physical violence is needed to satisfy all the elements of this definition. The only thing necessary is the perception that violence will occur. Let’s go through an example and you can see how this scenario plays out.

Dave and I get into an argument at work. We have words with each other and it escalates quickly. I lose my temper and get right up in Dave’s face and begin screaming. I am standing inches apart from him, with my fists balled up in anger, yelling at him. Have I just committed an assault?


Lets takes the first element of assault – “You did an act that, by its nature, would probably result directly in the application of force to someone else.” I have done several acts that satisfy this element. First, I am in David’s face inches away from him. Second, I have my fists balled up in anger, which is action. Finally, I am yelling.

The second element is satisfied because this was no accident. I did those things willfully.

The third element is satisfied because as a result of my action, a reasonable person would believe that my behavior would result in an application of force.

Finally, I am a able bodied male fully capable of applying force to David.

According to the definition of assault, as defined by the Penal code, there is a range of scenarios which could be deemed assault. The common misconception is that one needs to inflict physical violence on a person to be guilty of assault. As you can see that’s not the case. You don’t even need to touch another person, just the threat that you may harm that person is enough to justify an assault charge.

To prove an assault charge in a criminal matter one must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this occurred.  In a civil matter, the standard of proof is much lower.  Only a preponderance of evidence has to be proved.

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Studies show that there is a time in your life that it statistically better to get married so that you have the least chance of facing a divorce. The thinkin gos hat you wnat to be mature enough to recognize a good spouse partner and not so set in your ways that you can’t adapt to the rigors of a new relationship. 

From my perpetual robe of seeing hundreds of divorces over the years. The biggest issue is unrealistic expectations by either or both parties. Maybe there’s an age to help this but in general I think it’s more about education and maturity, but MOSTLY it’s about communication and having conversations prior to, and the man DURING the marriage to adapt and compromise. 

Divorce is more of a symptom than a cause and the cause is more out of lack of communication and concern in most cases. The cheating spouse is usually doing so for a reason. The shutdown spouse is doing so for a reason. The frigid spouse is doing so for a reason. 

If people talked more. Honestly and openly, the divorce rate would not be 70% of first marriages. It’s a lesson that they learn and then practice on their second and third marriages which have a 50% and 40 % chance of ending in divorce. 

But check out this article from Time.com on divorce rates and see when the prime time to marry is to reduce the divorce risk. 

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As if you needed another reason to learn how to protect yourself and your important personal assets. This case out of Chicago will remind you that buying tickets and box seats with community funds can cost you. 
This poor guy bought tickets and the the Cubs made it to the series and now he has to buy his soon to be ex a ticket as well. 

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Can Brad Pitt be told who to date by Angelina Jolie?


Angelina blocking picture of Brad Pitt.

Angelina blocking picture of Brad Pitt.

The rumors are flying that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are doing battle on their post divorce relationships. Some people are saying that Angie wants to limit who Brad can date and how publicly. Sure  sounds like someone is being overly controlling, if it’s true. In the18 years I’ve been practicing family law, I’ve never seen anything like this in a divorce judgment, but when I was speaking with HollywoodLife.com I told them my thoughts on whether it was legal or not.

“No sane lawyer would allow a ‘no dating clause’ in a divorce judgement,” divorce attorney David Pisarra told Hollywood Life on January 4. “I suppose, if there was enough consideration and money involved, such a clause is theoretically possible. I am not sure how a judge would be able to enforce such a clause unless there was a forfeiting of money.”

In the wacky world of divorce and celebrity, I suppose anything is possible. You can read more here.


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Can Brad Pitt Get An Emergency Court Order Against Angelina Jolie?

It’s Christmas time and every parent wants to see their children on Christmas morning, and often when there is a divorce or child custody battle going on, the parent with the children withholds them to “get back” at the other parent. This is when we receive calls asking if we can get a judge to order child custody or child visitation over the holidays.

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree


Like I told HollywoodLife.com in this article about Brad Pitt being able to see his kids,

Brad Pitt can go to court to ask for an emergency order to see his children over the holiday but chances are that will not work. The question will be is it an exigent or pressing circumstance and the answer to that is, probably not. Courts don’t generally grant visitation orders in situations like this so if Angelina Jolie wants to be a difficult and keep the kids from Brad over Christmas, there is not much Brad or a judge can do to stop her,” CA divorce attorney David Pisarra shares EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife.com. “A judge COULD order it but that would be EXTREMELY unlikely,” he adds.

Read the full article here.

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Can Kim Kardashian Win Child Custody From Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna?
Rob Kardashian with his baby daughter Dream.

Rob Kardashian with his baby daughter Dream.


Domestic violence rumors are swirling around Rob Kardashian and his fiancé and mother of his baby, Blac Chyna. When it comes to situations that involve domestic abuse, it’s always hard to tell who will end up with the children, but in this case, could Kim Kardashian come to the rescue of baby Dream?

I was talking to HollywoodLife.com about this possibility. While it’s not impossible, it’s not that likely unless,

“A judge could determine that both Blac and Rob are unfit to parent baby Dream,” California attorney David Pisarra, father’s rights champion and author of A Man’s Guide to Domestic Violence, told HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY. “That would require a Department of Child and Family Services intervention and a determination that there were grounds for an investigation into both Rob’s and Blac’s parenting ability.”

While I imagine the gratification that would come to the Kardashian women who would be in the prime position to say “I told you so” to their baby brother, is immense, the damage that would be done to the baby and the relationship between her parents would hopefully stop any DCFS action, unless it’s TRULY needed.

You can read more of what I say here. 

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Can Brad Pitt’s Divorce Records Be Sealed To Protect The Children?
Brad Pitt takes the kids to the movies.

Brad Pitt takes the kids to the movies.


We often have divorce and paternity clients who want to keep their “dirty laundry” quiet, and the other side knows it, they use it as a way to gain leverage in a divorce or child custody case. When someone wants to keep their case confidential or private, it all depends on what type of case has been filed with the Superior Courts of California.

Paternity cases, where the parties are not married but have a child together and are working out a parenting plan that includes custody and visitation and child support – everything is considered to be confidential. This goes back to the days when children were considered to be “legitimate” or “illegitimate” by whether or not they are born during marriage. This had huge impact in inheritance rights. In California we did away with the concept of legitimacy, and today so long as a person is determined to be legally a parent of a child, they will qualify for inheritance rights.

Divorce cases have traditionally been public and open to court watchers. The courts have the power to seal records if there is a strong privacy concern that overrides the public’s need to know, and they are generally not sealed.

When HollywoodLife.com called me to discuss Brad Pitt’s latest legal maneuver to try and seal the records in his divorce from Angelina Jolie, I told them this:

On Dec. 7, the judge denied Brad’s request, which, according to California divorce attorney, Dave Pisarra, wasn’t surprising. “Divorces are public,” he explained to HollywoodLife.comEXCLUSIVELY. “If it was just a paternity action, it would automatically be private and confidential, but that is not the case here.”

You can read the full article here.


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Is Rob Kardashian A Male Victim Of Domestic Abuse? Probably.
Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna.

Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna.

Male victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence oftentimes don’t recognize the fact that they have been abused. Our society tells men to tolerate abusive behavior from women, and condemns the man if he tries to defend himself. Claims of domestic abuse or violence are often used by women to gain an advantage in paternity and divorce cases involving child custody.

If there is abuse happening in the Kardashian household, and Rob’s the victim, it’s likely he won’t be able to spot that it’s happening to him. Abuse against men is just like abuse against women, it can be verbal, emotional, psychological and physical. Women engage in domestic abuse at equal or greater numbers than men, they just do so in a way that is often considered to be “appropriate” even though it is just as damaging. When a woman is demeaning or belittling to a man, that is abuse, and it’s a common occurrence.

I was asked by HollywoodLife.com to discuss the possibility of what could be happening with the Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna relationship, and how if he’s a domestic abuse survivor what he should do, and how it would effect his ability to gain custody of their child:

“If Rob is indeed a male domestic violence victim, if Blac is being physically abusive as the latest stories claim, Rob needs to be filing for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order ASAP,” David Pisarra,Father’s Rights Champion and author of, A Man’s Guide to Domestic Violence, tell us. “This order would be the key to Rob getting MUCH more custody of his child Dream.”

Read the full article here.

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