Hatley v. Southard

February 15, 2024

In this case, the trial court denied Hatley’s DVRO request against her estranged husband Southard because the court thought her “allegations of a pattern of control and isolation” by Southard, which included “limiting her access to money, communication, and transportation[,] did not fall within the statutory definition of domestic violence or abuse.”  The Court of Appeal reversed, explaining the allegations were abuse and could support a DVRO.  Hatley also alleged other forms of abuse, including physical abuse, but the opinion’s discussion largely focuses on the alleged harassment, disturbing the peace, and coercive control.  The Court also concluded the trial court erred in not allowing Hatley to testify to Southard’s sexual abuse, because Hatley had adequately pled and put Southard on notice of those allegations in one of her supplemental declarations. Further, the Court held the trial court erred by not addressing Hatley’s request for spousal support, which the court has to rule on even if it denies the DVRO request.

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