Monday, March 30, 2020

In re Marriage of Everard (Cal. Ct. App. - March 30, 2020)

It's a case from San Diego.  The parties are married, and have two kids, but it's not a good marriage.  The parties get divorced, and based on various events, the trial court enters mutual restraining orders against the spouses.  The father doesn't like that, and files an appeal.  The mother doesn't file a brief in response, but that doesn't obviate the Court of Appeal's responsibility to resolve the merits.

The Court of Appeal affirms, in an opinion that seems exactly right.  Father said that the trial court relied on a police report to find mutual abuse, but that's not really true -- as Justice Benke says, the trial court really relied on the police officer's testimony, the testimony of the wife, etc.  Yes, the trial court was required to make "detailed findings" before issuing a mutual restraining order, and that really just means (according to the panel) "findings" sufficient to permit review.  But the findings here satisfied that burden.  Hence affirmed.

All of which makes sense.

The sad part, to me, is that now there's this appeal sitting out there.  Yes, we've used initials for the names of the kids.  But the parents' names are not especially common ones.  So it's easy to go ahead and look up the Facebook pages of the mother and father.  In which you'll see tons of smiling and proud pictures of the two kids -- which is great.  But now, out there, is a published opinion that has intimate details of their parents' marriage, with a focus on their respective events of domestic violence.  Maybe there's a little young to read about that now (maybe), but eventually, yeah, they'll see it.

Of course, they also lived through it, so maybe seeing it in print pales in comparison.  (One quote from the opinion:  "On December 17 during a "FaceTime" call with minors, they started screaming, "Mommy stop! Why mommy? What are you doing mommy? You're going to die, mommy, STOP STOP STOP"; and that C. stated Valerie had a "steak knife held to her own arm" and was "threatening to cut off the tattoo of [Kyle's] name."")  But still.  Sort of sad that there's something out there like this to remind them of the experience.