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California Court Discusses Mutual Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

It is not uncommon for a couple in the process of divorcing to become contentious, and in some cases, contention can lead to violence. Frequently, both parties commit acts of domestic violence, and therefore, the California courts are permitted to enter mutual domestic violence restraining orders. In the recent case of Manishkumar and Ankola decided by the Court of Appeal of the Sixth District of California, the court discussed when a court has the authority to issue a mutual restraining order. It is prudent to meet with a skilled California family law attorney if you have been accused of domestic violence or are a victim of domestic violence.

Factual and Procedural Background

In the case, the husband and wife married in June of 2014, but their relationship quickly deteriorated. The husband filed a petition to nullify the marriage in December of 2015, alleging that the marriage was fraudulent. The wife filed numerous requests for domestic violence restraining orders against her husband. One of the orders was granted, and the court issued a domestic violence restraining order with a five-year duration against the husband. Then, in August of 2017, the husband filed a request for a domestic violence restraining order against his wife. The wife filed a written response to the husband’s request in which she denied her husband’s allegations, but she did not file her own request.

It is alleged that in February of 2018, a hearing was held on the matter. Husband and wife both testified regarding various acts of domestic violence each party committed. Following the hearing, the court stated it was going to issue a finding that each party committed acts of domestic violence, and enter a mutual restraining order. Thus, the court entered a restraining order against both husband and wife. The husband appealed.

Mutual Restraining Orders Under California Law

The California statute pertaining to mutual domestic violence restraining orders states that a court cannot issue a mutual order unless both parties present written evidence of domestic violence in an application for relief. The statute clarifies a responsive pleading does not constitute written evidence of abuse. Additionally, the statute requires that the court makes detailed findings of fact that both parties acted as the main aggressor, and neither party was acting in self-defense.

In the subject case, on appeal, the court focused on the issue of whether each party presented written evidence of abuse. The court noted that the wife filed a written response to the husband’s request for a domestic violence restraining order, but did not file a separate request of her own. Thus, the court found that the trial court erred in issuing a domestic violence restraining order against the husband.

Further, the court rejected the assertion that the order issued against the husband was meant to be a modification of the previous order against him, finding that the record was devoid of any evidence it was meant to be a modification. Thus, the court reversed the order.

Meet with an Assertive California Attorney

A domestic violence restraining order can dramatically impact your rights and reputation. If you were wrongfully accused of domestic violence, it is important to retain an assertive California family law attorney to advocate on your behalf. Ethan M. Weisinger is a zealous attorney who will work tirelessly to help you pursue a successful result under the facts of your case. You can contact Mr. Weisinger through the form online or at 925-258-2020 to schedule a confidential and free meeting to discuss your case.

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