Love Goes Horribly Wrong Then Comes the DVRO

Boyfriend [BF] and Girlfriend [GF] entered into a romantic relationship in 2014.  The relationship progressed and later BF proposed marriage to GF.  GF accepted.

In September of 2018, GF became very upset when BF went on a vacation to Las Vegas without her.  When BF returned to California, the argument continued in front of GF’s home.  According to BF, GF became so angry that she got in her car and tried to run him over in her (F1) was present.  GF would ask BF to leave and he wouldn’t until F1 got involved.  F1 also testified that she had seen numerous texts and e-mails from BF to GF either demanding she return to the relationship or what he would do to her.

Another of GF’s friends [F2] claimed and later testified that BF would come to GF’s place of employment many times trying to got her to talk with him.  Both friends testified that GF was terrified of BF and tried to convince her to file for domestic violence restraining order [DVRO].  GF finally did so.  However, since BF had already filed for a DVRO, the court denied GF’s request until the hearing because BF’s DVRO meant both had to stay away from each other.)

At the hearing GF testified to all the stalking and abusive behavior by BF against her, including coming inside her house; he had access to her security codes, holding her down on her own bed, and trying to face-to-face communicate with GF’s child.  GF also provided documentation regarding BF’s texts of GF nude and GF’s nurse’s license and threatening trouble for GF.

The trial court agreed with GF and stated: “The Court heard testimony from both sides and ]weighed the credibility of the witnesses. [GF] had several witnesses which had a very consistent story with numerous actions where [BF] went out of his way to contact [GF] after the Temporary Restraining Orders were in place. The Court does not believe [BF] is fearful of [GF], as there is nothing indicating that. . . . The Court finds, there is insufficient evidence to substantiate by a preponderance of the evidence that domestic violence [by GF against BF] has occurred… [BF’s] request for restraining orders is denied. [¶] As to [GF]’s request, the Court finds [BF] tried to exercise some dominion or control over [GF]. The Court finds sending the picture of [GF]’s nursing license to her as a threat. The Court further finds [BF] continued to have contact with [GF] months after he admitted they broke up, which is classic stalking behavior… The Court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that acts of domestic violence have occurred and that . . . [BF] is the perpetrator, and . . . [GF] and her minor daughter are the victim[s].””

BF appealed, and the Appellate Court agreed with the trial court:

“…A DVRO may be issued to prevent, among other things, stalking, threatening, . . . harassing, telephoning, . . . contacting, either directly or indirectly, by mail or otherwise, coming within a specified distance of, or disturbing the peace of the other party.” (Fam. Code, § 6320, subd. (a).) Acts that disturb the peace of a party have been held to include those that destroy the party’s mental or emotional calm…”

“…The trial court’s findings that McCord’s statements and actions were a means of exercising control and dominion over Smith and threatening her were amply supported by the evidence. Those acts were sufficient to constitute a disturbance of her peace, as well as stalking, threatening, and harassing.  [BF] correctly notes that with respect to at least one incident—his texting the photo of [GF]’s nursing license—there was ‘[n]o profanity, no shouting, no threats’; this is not the relevant standard, however. The trial court did not err in issuing the DVRO in favor of [GF] and her minor daughter, and against [BF].”

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