A criminal case is heard in criminal court before a criminal Judge. A family law case is heard before a civil judge in family law or civil court. However, the two may still have significant effects on each other. Family code §4320 (m) gives family law Judges the authority to consider any domestic violence and related cases as a factor in determining spousal support.
A party may lose their right to spousal support if the Judge believes there has been domestic violence. There must be documented domestic violence, not just an accusation. In many cases, the judge may also consider arrests. It does not have to be a conviction.
Let’s consider an example. Let’s say that Harry has been arrested and charged under California Penal Code §273.5, Corporal injury on a spouse. Harry and his wife, Wendy got into a fight with one night and Harry pushed Wendy. Wendy ended up falling on the floor and hurting herself. She called the cops and the result was that cops came and arrested Harry charging him with domestic violence. Harry appears before a criminal judge and accepts a plea bargain. He pleads guilty to a disturbing the peace and the charges of domestic violence are dropped against him.