Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

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Domestic violence is a serious problem affecting many residents of California. Thus, the law allows victims of domestic violence to seek restraining orders preventing them from suffering further harm. Prior to granting an order, the court will hold an evidentiary hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence of violent acts against a person so as to warrant a restraining order. Judges are required to issue rulings based on the evidence alone and cannot impart their opinions on the matter. As such, if a judge demonstrates bias during a domestic violence hearing, it may constitute grounds for a reversal. The evidence needed to demonstrate bias was the subject of a recent California ruling in which both parties accused each other of domestic violence. If you are the victim of abuse by a romantic partner or family member, it is prudent to meet with a skilled California domestic violence attorney regarding your rights.

The Hearing and Subsequent Ruling

It is reported that in the spring of 2019, the wife filed a request for a domestic violence restraining order against the husband. A month later, the husband filed a request for a domestic violence restraining order against the wife. The court issued temporary orders retraining both parties and scheduled a hearing for cause. During the hearing, the wife testified in detail regarding numerous acts of abuse over the course of two years. The judge issued an order against the husband but declined to issue an order against the wife. The husband appealed, arguing that the judge demonstrated bias.

Demonstrating Bias in a Family Law Case

Under the California Domestic Violence Prevention Act, a court may issue an order restraining any person to prevent domestic violence from recurring and ensuring a separation between the parties involved if the party seeking the order presents reasonable proof of past acts of abuse. Abuse is defined as an act that causes a person to have a reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily harm. It also includes conduct that is enjoined by other statutes such as sexual assault, battery, and molestation.

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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.

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While many people mistakenly believe that domestic violence is a problem that only affects younger people, it is an unfortunate fact that domestic violence can and does occur in every facet of society. If a court finds a party’s claims of domestic violence credible, it will typically draft a domestic violence restraining order limiting contact based on the unique circumstances of the case. In some cases, the meaning of the terms of the order may not be clear due to extenuating factors. This was evidenced in a recent domestic violence case in which the court addressed the meaning of the term “dwelling” with regards to restrictions imposed on an elderly divorced couple that lived in the same building. If you or a loved one are the victim of domestic violence or you have been accused of domestic violence it is important to consult a knowledgeable California family law attorney as soon as possible to handle your case.

Reportedly, the former husband and former wife were an elderly couple that continued to live in the same apartment building after dissolving their marriage. Their relationship was especially contentious, and they routinely engaged in legal action against one another. In this particular instance, the husband requested an elder abuse restraining order and the wife requested a domestic violence restraining orders against the husband, due to various alleged acts of abuse.

Following a hearing, the court granted both the husband’s and the wife’s request. The order against the wife stated that the wife was prohibited from entering the husband’s dwelling. The husband subsequently appealed the trial court ruling. He argued, in part, that the trial court erred in defining his “dwelling” as his apartment unit and not the entire building. The court rejected the husband’s arguments and denied his appeal.

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DVRO CHECKLIST (CURRENT AS OF 12/1/2019)

I. FORMS FOR APPLYING FOR A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESTRAINING ORDER IN CONTRA COSTA COUNTY

The following forms are mandatory for applying for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order, unless specified as optional below. Please be sure to read each item on the below checklist. Please go to the following website to obtain the forms, or you may go to google.com and type in the form numbers to obtain forms.