California family Code §6345 pertains to the renewal of a DVRO and reads in relevant part as follows:
(a) … These orders may be renewed, upon the request of a party, either for five years or permanently, without a showing of any further abuse since the issuance of the original order, subject to termination or modification by further order of the court either on written stipulation filed with the court or on the motion of a party. […]
The scope and meaning of the section is further defined in the case of Ritchie v Konrad (2004) 115 Cal.App.4th 1275 which lays out the standard of review in determining if such an order should be renewed and the factors the Court should look to in making a determination as to the renewal of such orders. In relevant part Richie provides the following direction to the Court: [I]n California, as in the rest of the country, an objective test must be satisfied before a protective order is renewed in contested cases. A trial may court renew the protective order, if and only if, it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the protective party entertains a “reasonable apprehension” of future abuse. at pg. 1290.
The Richie opinion goes on to identify several factors including recommendations that the trial court should ordinarily consider the evidence and findings on which the initial order was based in appraising…. since two orders may be written the same but based on totally different set of facts. at pg. 1290. Noting however that the mere existence of an existing protective order is seldom conclusive evidence of “reasonable apprehension” since it was issued several years earlier. Richie at pg.1291
Additionally, any significant changes that have taken place since the order was issued – for instance have the parties moved on with their lives, moved from the area, and involved with new partners/spouses/significant others and similar facts that show there is less likelihood of future abuse. Richie at pg. 1291.
The other side of the equation – the burdens the protective order imposes on the restrained party; including interfering with or preventing the restrained party from maintaining or finding employment. Obviously if there is a “reasonable apprehension of physical violence” this factor is less relevant as the physical security of the protective party trumps all burdens. Richie at pg. 1292.
The fact a judge found enough grounds to grant a protective order three years earlier does not necessarily mean sufficient grounds remain to renew that order for another three years […] merely because the protective party files a “request” and expresses her subjective desire the court issue such an extension.
Anyone considering getting an extension of a DVRO should consult an attorney.