FVAP Restraining Order Renewal Case Law
Below is a list of FVAP’s published cases regarding restraining order renewal. These cases are binding legal precedent in all trial courts in California, and can be used to support domestic violence-related cases in trial court. Please note: This is not a comprehensive list. Rather, it is a list of FVAP’s published restraining order renewal appellate cases since 2012.
Laws often change. Reviewing this list is not a suitable substitute for legal research specific to your case. Additional legal research should be done before citing any case law in trial court. While a decision below may be used to support your (or your client’s) case in court, it may not be the best decision to use in your particular case, and/or there may be additional cases that you should cite. This list does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and FVAP.
To read a decision, click on the case name. See our Legal Resource Library for toolkits, tip sheets, court templates, and other resources for survivors.
When “situational abuse” is used as a requirement to submit proof of new abuse:
Brubaker v. Strum (2021) ___ Cal.App.5th ____. In this case, a survivor of domestic violence appealed a trial court order denying her request to renew her restraining order. The Court of Appeal granted the appeal. This case clarifies for the first time that labelling abuse as “situational” is not a legal reason to require proof of new abuse in order to renew a domestic violence restraining order. Further, the opinion explains that a prior court finding that the restraining order was not violated, which was made for purposes of a custody determination, cannot prevent a survivor of abuse from using that same evidence to show that a restraining order should be renewed. FVAP obtained publication.
When defending the renewal of a domestic violence restraining order and taking into account acts that led to the order:
Ashby vs. Ashby (Aug. 5, 2021) ___ Cal.App.5th ___ [2021 WL 3883601]. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding the trial court used the right legal standard in finding Wife had a reasonable fear future abuse would happen without renewal of her DVRO. The opinion confirms for the first time abusive litigation behavior and violating court orders, such as those relating to support, fees, and child custody and visitation, should be considered when deciding whether to renew a DVRO. In particular, the opinion describes how Husband violated court orders and tried to “financially starve” Wife and pressure her into dropping her DVRO. While renewing a DVRO does not require violations of that DVRO, the opinion explains how Husband’s actions of electronic stalking and financial abuse were relevant for whether to renew a DVRO. Finally, the opinion notes DVRO renewals should take into account the facts and evidence that led to the initial DVRO. FVAP co-counseled this case with Horvitz & Levy LLP.
Renewing a restraining order when the original order is being appealed:
In re Marriage of Carlisle (2021) __ Cal.App. 3rd. This case makes it clear that trial courts have the authority to renew a domestic violence restraining order while the original order is being appealed. (FVAP obtained publication.)
Considering children’s extracurricular activities; considering overall career when determining “burden” to restrained party:
Rybolt v. Riley (2018) 20 Cal.App.5th 864. This case involving a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) renewal establishes legal precedence in at least two ways. First, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s consideration of a restrained party’s actions (threatening, harassing, controlling, and manipulating) toward the survivor during shared parenting time (their child’s extracurricular activities) as “abuse” under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA), and as violations of a DVRO. Thus, this case instructs trial courts to consider everyone’s physical and emotional safety and wellbeing when crafting parenting plans (custody and visitation). Second, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s considerations of the “burdens” that a DVRO renewal could place on the restrained party, and said trial courts should consider the restrained party’s overall career to determine how a renewed DVRO could impact their employment prospects. (The only California case other than Lister v. Bowen (below) to discuss possible “burdens” to the restrained party since 2004.) (FVAP obtained publication.)
Renewing in family court ROs issued by juvenile court:
Priscila N. v. Leonardo G. (17 Cal.App. 5th 1208, Dec. 1, 2017) Another case of legal precedence, this decision extends the protections of Garcia v. Escobar (below), which says Domestic Violence Restraining Orders issued by juvenile courts can be renewed in family courts. Priscila N. goes further, clarifying that all DVROs should be treated the same for renewal purposes, and that a restraining order issued by a juvenile court should be considered to have been “issued” under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act of the Family Code for the purpose of renewal. This decision also confirms that the language of California’s Family Code (which governs family court proceedings) and the Welfare and Institutions Code (which governs juvenile court proceedings) work together and should be applied broadly to affect the Legislature’s intent of providing the best possible protections for California domestic violence survivors. In other words, family and juvenile courts statewide should work together to protect survivors. For practical tips on how to use this case to support clients who are domestic violence survivors, click here. (FVAP counseled this case, and the Court of Appeal published this decision.) Pro bono co-counsel: Manatt Phelps, Harriet Buhai Family Law Center
Garcia v. Escobar (17 Cal.App.5th 267, Nov. 15, 2017). In the first ever ruling of its kind in California, the Court of Appeal confirmed that, after juvenile court case is dismissed (i.e., the juvenile court has terminated its jurisdiction), a family court can renew a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) that was originally issued by the juvenile court. There should be no difference in the way a family court renews a DVRO, whether it was issued by a family court or a juvenile court. (Pursuant to Family Code section 6345.) This is important because renewed restraining orders can last longer (five years or permanently) than new restraining orders (five years or less). (FVAP litigated this appeal and obtained publication.) Pro bono co-counsel: Mayer Brown
Child abuse is relevant in RO renewals:
De la Luz Perez v. Torres-Hernandez (2016) 1 Cal.App.5th 389. This is the first California decision to confirm that evidence of abuse against the child of someone who has a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) is relevant information and should be considered when deciding whether to renew the DVRO, because abuse against a person’s child disturbs the protected party’s peace and can cause fear of future abuse to both the child and the protected party. Child abuse must also be considered when deciding whether “good cause” exists to add children as protected parties to a DVRO. The decision also confirms that fear of future physical abuse is not necessary to renew a DVRO. The opinion also summarizes many social science studies on the overlap between child abuse and intimate partner abuse. (FVAP litigated this appeal and obtained publication.) (Click here to read a San Francisco Chronicle article about the statewide significance of this case.) Pro bonon co-counsel: Folger Levin, Bay Area Legal Aid
No reasonable apprehension of future abuse:
Cueto v. Dozier (2015) 241 Cal.App.4th 550. The trial court in this case had denied our client’s request to renew a domestic violence restraining order because it said she did not have “reasonable apprehension of future abuse.” The Court of Appeal overturned that decision and said the trial court was wrong to deny the restraining order renewal on that basis, especially because the survivor had applied for the original restraining order after a “violent incident,” and because there was “evidence of a long and troubling history of physical abuse,” and because circumstances had not changed enough that the opportunity and likelihood of future abuse had diminished. (FVAP litigated this appeal, which the court published.) Pro bono co-counsel: Cooley Godward
Violation of RO not required for renewal; and Fear of non-physical future abuse:
Eneaji v. Ubboe (2014) 229 Cal.App.4th 1457. The Court of Appeal ruled that a trial court should not deny a restraining order renewal just because no abuse occurred while the restraining order was in place. This decision clarifies clarified that, to obtain a DVRO renewal, the survivor should not need to show fear of future physical abuse; fear of any type of future abuse, as defined by the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, should be sufficient for renewal. (FVAP litigated this appeal and obtained publication.) Pro bono co-counsel: Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Asian Pacific American Legal Center
Renewal based on non-violent violation of RO:
Lister v. Bowen (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 319. The Court of Appeal clarified that any violation of a restraining order, including a non-violent violation, is very serious and gives significant support for renewal of a domestic violence restraining order. (FVAP obtained publication)