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FAMILY LAW UPDATE

PAST VIOLATIONS MAY SUPPORT RESTRAINING ORDER RENEWALS

By Sara B. Morgan, Esq.

Family Code, Section 6345 permits a court to renew a restraining order upon request of a party without a showing of any further abuse since the issuance of the restraining order. Instead, the decision to renew such a restraining order lies in the discretion of the court.

In the matter of Lister v. Bowen, 2013 DJDAR 4678, however, the restraining order renewal request of the protected party was contested by the respondent. That Court held that, in order for the restraining order to be renewed, the court must find that the probability of future abuse was sufficient such that a reasonable woman in the same circumstances would have a ‘reasonable apprehension’ that such abuse will occur unless the court issues a protective order. The protected party’s subjective fear alone would not be sufficient in such a contested matter.

Fortunately for Ms. Lister, Mr. Bowen had violated the existing restraining order, and within days she had promptly filed her request for renewal. Mr. Bowen’s violation of the existing restraining order was evidence which permitted the trial court to conclude that there was a sufficient risk of future abuse, and thus the restraining order was renewed.

With both domestic violence and civil harassment restraining orders, time is of the essence in either seeking or defending such actions. With every day that passes, your chances of being successful in a restraining order matter dwindles. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney who can advise you of your rights, and fully evaluate your potential claims. Here at the law firm of Heiting & Irwin, we have over 100 years combined experience, and because we offer FREE CONSULTATIONS, there is no excuse to put off calling today. We may be reached at (951) 682-6400.

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