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Christina L. v. Chauncey B.

California Court of Appeals, First District, Fourth Division

August 14, 2014

CHRISTINA L., Appellant,
v.
CHAUNCEY B., Defendant and Respondent.

Solano County Super. Ct. No. FFL083284

Page 732

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 733

COUNSEL

Dentons US, Bella Shirin, Karen C. Marchiano; Family Violence Appellate Project, Erin D. Smith, Nancy K.D. Lemon and Jennafer Dorfman Wagner for Plaintiff and Appellant.

No appearance for Defendant and Respondent.

OPINION

Rivera, J.

Christina L. (Mother) appeals an order granting to her and respondent Chauncey B. (Father) joint legal and physical custody of their son, O.L., and daughter, A.L. She contends the trial court improperly modified an earlier custody determination (under which she had sole legal and physical custody of the children) without finding a significant change in circumstances, and tat the trial court erroneously failed to consider the effect of a domestic violence restraining order against Father. We shall reverse the order and remand the matter to the trial court for further proceedings.

Page 734

I. BACKGROUND [1]

The two children were born in 2000 and 2002. It appears that Mother and Father’s relationship was marred by domestic violence on Father’s part, and by 2004, they were no longer living together.

Mother obtained a temporary restraining order against Father in 2004, based on her assertions that he committed abuse, including pulling her hair and squeezing her hand so hard as she held car keys that her hand bled, bending the car keys, and that he grabbed the steering wheel of the car in which she was driving with the children, threw her, punched her, strangled her, and kicked and “stomped” her. Mother obtained another temporary restraining order against Father in 2005, after he pushed and grabbed her and refused to let her see the children after he picked them up from daycare. The court granted another temporary restraining order in 2006, after Father went into Mother’s backyard, watched her through the window, and later told her what he had seen. Also in 2006, Mother was granted sole legal and physical custody of the children; Father was granted visitation at Mother’s discretion.

The trial court issued a three-year domestic violence restraining order against Father in 2008 prohibiting him from, inter alia, harassing, striking, threatening, stalking, or contacting Mother. Father ...


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