Mother [M] and Father [F] never married, but were in an intimate relationship
for seven years. From that relationship, their daughter [D] was born.
D was three years old when the relationship ended in 2013.
The relationship ended for many reasons, but domestic violence was at the
heart of it. For reasons that were never explained in the appellate court
decision, the case was heard in juvenile court and not family court (superior court).
M requested the juvenile court provide her and D with a protective restraining
order against F. The juvenile court granted the request preventing F from,
attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering,
harassing, destroying the personal property of, contacting, or disturbing
the peace and required him to stay 100 yards from M and D, except for
his visitation of D. The protective order was to expire three years later in 2016.
With the protective order in place, the juvenile court terminated its jurisdiction
of M’s case.
In 2016, M went in to family court (superior court) and requested that
the restraining order be renewed. She and D were still in fear of F, and
he had not complied with all of the juvenile court’s orders to have
the restraining order removed (including attending anger management-type classes).
The family court read M’s brief (her written request) to have the
order renewed, but determined it was not a renewal, but a request for
a new domestic violence restraining order. However, the family court determined
that it did not have the jurisdiction to renew the previous order, because
it was issued in juvenile court.
The Appellate Court agreed with M stating: “A ‘juvenile court’
is a superior court exercising limited jurisdiction arising under juvenile
law… ‘Family 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…
Both the juvenile court and the family court may issue protective orders
to protect against domestic violence.”
The Appellate Court further stated: “When a Welfare and Institutions
Code petition is filed in juvenile court, the juvenile court has jurisdiction
to issue restraining orders until the petition is dismissed or the dependency
is terminated. (Cal. Rules of Court, rules 5.620(b),5.630.) The jurisdiction
of the juvenile court is not affected by the jurisdiction of the family
court. (Fam. Code, §6221, subdivision. (b).) However, once the juvenile
court terminates jurisdiction, the family court assumes jurisdiction over
restraining orders issued in juvenile court.”
Lastly, the Appellate Court returned the case to the Family Court (superior
court) to determine whether to renew the juvenile court protective order,
or to determine if a new protective order should be implemented.