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New ruling demonstrates domestic violence rules can get complicated

Posted by Haleh Rashidi | Nov 29, 2017 | 0 Comments

In a new DV ruling, the Court of Appeal reminds us again that a Superior Court is a Superior Court is a Superior Court, regardless of their designated specialization

In a brand new case just issued last week, Garcia v. Escobar, __Cal.Rptr.3d __, 2017 WL 5477343 (2017), the Court of Appeal started its opinion by once again reminding us that all lower courts in our judicial system are Superior Courts.

A “juvenile court” is a superior court exercising limited jurisdiction arising under juvenile law. (In re Chantal S. (1996) 13 Cal.4th 196, 200.) “[F]amily court” refers to the activities of one or more superior court judicial officers who handle litigation arising under the Family Code. It is not a separate court with special jurisdiction, but is instead the superior court performing one of its general duties.” (Id. at p. 201.) Both the juvenile court and the family court may issue protective orders to protect against domestic violence. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 213.5, 304; Fam. Code, §§ 6218, 6320.) A protective order enjoins specific acts of abuse. (Fam. Code, § 6218.)

With that introduction in mind, it issued its holding that, “after a juvenile court has terminated its jurisdiction, the family court has jurisdiction over domestic violence orders and may issue a renewal.” In so holding, it reversed the trial court's ruling and remanded the case with instructions.

There are two important rules that came out of Garcia that are worth noting:

(1)    “Once the juvenile court terminates jurisdiction, the family court assumes jurisdiction over restraining orders issued in juvenile court.” (See Welf. & Inst. Code, § 362.4[;] “Welfare and Institutions Code section 362.4 provides that when a juvenile court terminates jurisdiction over a child, the juvenile court may issue a protective order as defined by Family Code section 6218. Such an order “shall continue until modified or terminated by a subsequent order of the superior court.” (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 362.4.)).

(2)    “Both courts apply the same definitions of abuse when issuing restraining orders. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 5.630, citing Fam. Code, § 6203.).”

As you can see, it is very important to know these rules, especially in Orange County, where filing for domestic violence restraining orders seems to be the rule and not the exception. And a well-informed attorney can help you navigate these complicated issues.

About the Author

Haleh Rashidi

Haleh's career as a family law attorney started in the chambers of the Honorable Elizabeth Sichel, Riverside County Superior Court Family Law Judge. Working for Judge Sichel gave her invaluable experience and insight into how judges decide cases and hence how to win a case.

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