Christopher U. appealed from a restraining order that protected his spouse Parris J. One provision of the restraining order required Christopher to change the beneficiary of a large life insurance policy he held on Parris’s life to a charity of her choice for as long as the restraining order was in effect, because Parris said the fact that Christopher would have significant financial gain if she died disturbed her peace, which is one definition of abuse under California law. Christopher challenged this provision, and the court of appeal confirmed that trial courts do have the authority to order this type of relief in a restraining order. The trial court also found Christopher’s actions that caused Parris to be financially dependent were part of a pattern of coercive control, which is also abuse under California law. We are grateful to our co-counsel Goodwin Procter, and to the many domestic violence organizations that filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief in this case to help the court of appeal understand coercive controlling abuse.
FVAP Co-counsel with Goodwin Procter.
In partnership with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project, Stopping Domestic Violence, California Protective Parents Association, Center for Domestic Peace, Sanctuary for Families, The National Family Violence Law Center at George Washington University Law School, the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, California Women’s Law Center, Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse, Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice, and Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.