Restraining Orders Effect on Child Support

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Restraining-Orders-Effect-on-Child-SupportCalifornia has a recognized process whereby a victim of abuse can pursue restraining orders.  If the action is commenced pursuant to certain provisions of California’s Family Code the court can also issue orders for child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal support, and property control and division.  Because of these far reaching consequences we in the biz refer to domestic violence proceedings as divorce light.

There is a question that I have never had the answer to.  If a court issues support orders as part of a domestic violence case, do those support orders go away if the restraining order goes away?  I always thought they would.  So did a judge in Riverside County.  Dawn Moore applied for and got temporary restraining orders against Maurice Bedard, the father of her children.  At the follow-up hearing the parties agreed to drop the restraining orders, but also agreed to child support.  Subsequently the court dismissed the entire case, including the support orders.  The trial court determined that once the restraining orders were dropped it had no power to enforce the other orders.  Make sense to me.

The Court of Appeals corrects the trial court and me.

Domestic violence restraining orders are issued pursuant to the Domestic Violence Prevention Act.  (Sections 6200 et seq.)  A “protective order” is defined in section 6218 as an order issued under sections 6320, 6321, and 6322.  Judicial Council forms, including forms DV-100 and DV-105, are required to be used when requesting protective orders and other relief.  (§§ 211, 6221, subd. (c).)

Section 6340 gives the court discretion to issue any of the orders stated in sections 6320, 6321, or 6322 after notice and hearing.  It specifically provides, “If the court makes any order for custody, visitation or support, that order shall survive the termination of any protective order.”  (§ 6340, subd. (a).)

In making its decision crystal clear the Appellate Court writes: “As described above, the court had jurisdiction to make child support orders, and such jurisdiction survived the “dissolution” of the temporary restraining order.  (§§ 200, 290, 6340, subd. (a).)  Specifically, the court had continuing jurisdiction to make child support orders even though the restraining order was not granted.”

Please click here to read the original Moore opinion.

Please be sure to visit, the website for the law firm of Harding & Associates, for more information on California family law.

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