When a court grants a Washington domestic violence protection order for a fixed period of time, the petitioner may seek a renewal up to three months before it expires. A petition for renewal should be granted unless the respondent shows he or she will not resume domestic violence upon the expiration of the protection order. The respondent must make this showing by a preponderance of the evidence. RCW 26.50.060.
In a recent case, a mother challenged the denial of renewal of an order of protection. The court had originally granted her a one-year domestic violence protection order against her children’s father protecting the mother and their two children. The trial court found the father had harmed one of the kids and the mother was afraid for their safety. The father was prohibited from abusing the mother and children. The children were subject of a dependency proceeding, so the father’s contact with them was subject to the custody of the Department of Children, Youth and Families.
The mother petitioned to renew the protection order. She claimed the father scratched the children during his visitation with them. The trial court held a hearing where the mother, her mother, a polygraph examiner, and a Department of Children, Youth and Families social worker testified. Other evidence included a letter and a report from the Department of Children, Youth and Families.
The trial court found the father proved he would not commit domestic violence after expiration of the protection order and denied renewal. The mother appealed, arguing there was insufficient evidence to support the trial court’s finding.
The appeals court noted the trial court had based its finding on the report from the Department of Children, Youth and Families that detailed the services ordered in the dependency proceeding. It also showed the father’s willingness to comply.
The letter stated the father had submitted to a psychological evaluation and an anger management assessment. He had completed an anger management course and had not engaged in further illegal activity. The social worker testified that the Department of Children, Youth and Families had not asked either parent to restrain the other from contact with the children. The appeals court found there was sufficient evidence in the record to support the trial court’s finding.
The appeals court rejected the mother’s other arguments, finding they were based on the trial court’s determinations of credibility and other evidence. The appeals court found there was no abuse of discretion and affirmed the trial court’s denial of the renewal.
The father in this case showed he had taken some steps to address domestic violence, and the trial court found he had sufficiently shown that it was more likely than not that he would not engage in acts of domestic violence after the order expired. If you are seeking or opposing an original protection order or a renewal, you need the advice of an experienced Washington civil protection order attorney. There may be actions you can take to support your case. Call Blair & Kim, PLLC, at (206) 622-6562 to set up a consultation.