The petitioner in a request to renew a domestic violence restraining order may present evidence underlying the original restraining order as relevant to their fear of future abuse




Justia Opinion SummaryIn 2017 Brubaker sought dissolution of her marriage to Strum and requested a domestic violence restraining order, alleging Strum threatened to kill her and stalked her. The two entered into a stipulated temporary protective order. Brubaker alleged Strum violated the stipulated order multiple times. In 2018, the family law court issued a two-year domestic violence restraining order and subsequently found Strum had violated that order. In awarding Brubaker sole custody of their children, the court stated that Strum had not rebutted the presumption that an award of sole or joint custody to a perpetrator of domestic violence is detrimental to the best interest of the child, noting Strum’s inability to control his explosive temper and aggressive behavior.In 2019 Brubaker unsuccessfully sought to renew the two-year domestic violence restraining order. The court of appeal reversed the denial. The trial court erroneously considered only whether Strum committed acts of domestic violence during a narrow window of time when the original restraining order was in effect, and not whether Brubaker had a reasonable fear of future abuse, given all relevant facts and circumstances. A court should renew a domestic violence restraining order when the court finds the probability of future abuse is sufficient that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would have a “reasonable apprehension” that abuse will occur absent a protective order.

April 14, 2022
Marriage of Brubaker and Strum, B307887 (Cal. Ct. App. January 3, 2022)
California Courts