Client successfully appealed the denial of her Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO). At her last hearing, following nearly two years of pandemic and other continuances, the trial court offered the survivor an opportunity to agree to an ongoing temporary restraining order (TRO). This would not be a finding of domestic violence and would not have the same protections as a domestic violence restraining order after hearing. When she refused, the trial court found she did not have “a reasonable fear of future abuse” and denied the DVRO request. That is the standard to renew a restraining order, not grant an initial DVRO. The trial court also failed to find that the other party in the case had violated the TRO despite undisputed evidence that the other party had contacted her to threaten and intimidate her. FVAP and Barnes & Thornburg co-counseled on an amicus brief supported by 22 other organizations and individuals. The brief discussed the problematic trend of multiple continuances and the false premise that a temporary order had the same protections as a final order after hearing. The brief also discussed common protective parenting practices of survivors who put themselves at risk not because they are not afraid but because it is safer for their children to be present. The Court of Appeal reversed and sent the matter back to the trial court. It ruled that the trial court erred by not finding that the other party’s violations of the TRO were abuse, when in fact they were, explicitly meeting the client’s burden of proof for receiving a domestic violence restraining order.
FVAP co-counseled with Barnes & Thornburg, LLP and were proud to support the appeal brought by Community Legal Aid SoCal.