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What Are Mutual Domestic Violence Restraining Orders?

 Brian Pakpour      December 1, 2015

domestic violenceDomestic violence can be a major problem in family law cases. Family law cases often deal with difficult and emotionally charged issues.

One, or both parties, may seek to control the other in an effort to control the outcome of their case. This can lead to violent outbursts.

When both parties act out violently, mutual domestic violence restraining orders may be needed to protect both parties from each other.

What Are Mutual Domestic Violence Restraining Orders?

Mutual domestic violence restraining orders limit the conduct of both parties in a family law matter in order to protect the peace and safety of both parties. They may order the parties to have “no contact” with each other, while others may order only “peaceful contact” between the parties.

When Will a Court Issue a Mutual Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

California Family Code section 6305 provides that the “court may not issue mutual domestic violence restraining orders unless (a) both parties personally appear and each presents written evidence of abuse or domestic violence, and (b) the court makes detailed findings of fact indicating that both parties acted primarily as aggressors and that neither party acted primarily in self-defense.” Although this two-part rule seems clear, there has been much confusion among the courts and attorneys regarding its application in family law cases.

To clear up the confusion, the Court of Appeals explained the procedural and substantive standards for issuance of mutual domestic violence restraining orders in Isidora M. v. Silvino M., 239 Cal.App.4th 11 (2015).

In the case, the wife, Isidora, filed a request for a domestic violence restraining order against her husband, Silvino. Silvino responded to the domestic violence restraining order, stating that he did not agree to it. He also provided evidence that Isidora had been arrested for spousal battery and was subject to a criminal protective order. However, he failed to request his own domestic violence restraining order against Isidora.

After an evidentiary hearing on the matter, the trial court issued a five year mutual restraining order.

On review, the Court of Appeals held that a trial court may issue mutual domestic violence restraining orders only if both parties have filed requests for such relief. The purpose of this rule is to give necessary notice to the opposing party and provide the opposing party with the opportunity to defend against the entry of a restraining order.

The Court of Appeals also held that a trial court may not substitute the bare fact of a guilty plea to domestic violence for detailed findings of fact indicating that a party acted as the primary aggressor and not primarily in self-defense. This means that a trial court must delve into the facts of the case and not rely on a previously entered plea.

Call Pakpour Family Law today at to discuss domestic violence and other family law issues:
530-302-5444 (Davis)
925-998-7009 (Pleasanton)

We can assist you with any family law matter in the following counties:

Yolo County, Solano County, Placer County, and Sacramento County