Butler Law, PC Partner Elyse B. Butler, CFLS and Associate Attorney Chalsie D. Keller, Esq. made history and created legal precedent by winning the appeal in In re Marriage of L.R. and K.A. In July, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the appellant and against a history in the state of granting and upholding a vast array of restraining orders.
In this case, Butler Law, PC represented the appellant mother, who had a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) issued against her by the father for her conduct during their court-ordered exchange of their child. After holding a hearing on the matter, the court re-issued the TRO against mother and then granted a three-year domestic violence restraining order (“DVRO”) against her. This DVRO limited the mother’s ability to see her children.
At the heart of the case was the interpretation of the meaning of abuse as outlined in the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (“DVPA”) (Family Code, Section 6200). If the petitioning party is able to meet their burden of proof in showing that the responding party committed domestic abuse within the meaning of the Act, the petitioning party may be granted a DVRO. According to the DVPA, abuse need not be only physical acts. Abuse can be conduct that destroys the petitioner’s mental and emotional calm or acts that “disturb the peace” of the other party.
The trial court considered a line of cases (namely Rodriguez v. Menjivar (2015) 243 Cal.App.4th 816 and Burquet v. Brumbaugh (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 1140) to decide what constituted “controlling and coercive behavior” and “an unwanted course of conduct” within the meaning of the Act. The appellate court reviewed the trial court’s decision and put emphasis on considering In re Marriage of Nadkarni (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 1483, among other case law, which concluded that “disturbing the peace of the other party” should be construed to have its ordinary meaning.
After reviewing the facts of these cases and comparing it to the appellant’s case, the court found that the appellant’s conduct did not rise to the level required to show that she destroyed the respondent’s mental and emotional calm.
The court specified that allegations of abuse should be viewed through a subjective lens of the petitioning party as well as an objective lens.
To read the case in full, click here: https://law.justia.com/cases/california/court-of-appeal/2021/d077533.html.
To see if Butler Law, PC can assist you with a Family Law Appeal, please contact our office today.