California Senate chamber
The California Senate chamber. Photo by Robbie Short for CALmatters

A bill by Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, that would protect domestic violence survivors who have experienced financial abuse has cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday and is on its way to consideration by the State Senate.

Assembly Bill 2517 would allow courts to find that specific debts were incurred as part of domestic violence.

“Financial abuse occurs in 99% of domestic violence cases. It’s an invisible form of violence that has lasting impacts even after a couple are no longer together,” Gloria said. “This bill will allow courts to unburden domestic violence survivors who have experienced financial abuse as part of their relationship.”

“This bill is particularly important today, amid the pandemic, as unfortunately, we know reports of domestic violence are rising. I’m thrilled to see it advance to the full Senate,” he said.

AB 2517 would build on current provisions for restraining orders in the Domestic Violence Prevention Act to address the debts an abusive partner may incur in the victim’s name without their consent. This can include stealing their identity, opening credit cards/loans, forcing or forging their signatures on financial documents and other debts they coerce the survivor into through threats and intimidation.

The bill would authorize the court — in an ex parte order — to find that specific debts were incurred as a result of domestic violence and without the consent of the partner. By doing so, the court can assign debts to the abuser and/or allow the survivor to use the court order as documentation for civil debt relief protections.

AB 2517 is expected to be heard by the State Senate in the coming weeks.

Gloria is the Majority Whip of the California State Assembly and represents the 78th District, which includes the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar, Imperial Beach and Solana Beach.

— City News Service