BAIRD V. BAIRD
FAMILY LAW: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ORDER (DVO)
PANEL: DIXON, PRESIDING; VANMETER, GRAVES CONCUR
DATE RENDERED: 09/07/2007
Ex-Husband appealed from TC’s order reissuing domestic violence order against him, arguing that there was no evidence to support the DVO. Parties’ 34-year marriage culminated in an incident in which Ex-Husband threw Ex-Wife against a shower wall and held a gun to her head. Ex-Wife moved out of marital residence and the parties divorced in 1997. In 1998, a DVO was entered against Ex-Husband after he threatened to kill Ex-Wife and all her co-workers. DVO expired in 2001, at which time Ex-Husband again began following and threatening Ex-Wife. Another DVO was entered in early 2003, to expire in 2006. A few weeks before this DVO expired, Ex-Wife filed a motion to extend it for another three years. TC did so after a brief hearing. Ex-Husband appealed to CA, and CA rendered unpublished opinion in 2006 vacating the DVO and remanding to TC, noting that what appeared to be the sole ground for re-issuance of the DVO was Ex-Wife’s testimony that life had been “much more peaceful” with DVO in place, and that, on remand, TC should give proper consideration to the restrictiveness of a DVO as well as all the facts and circumstances surrounding the case before rendering a decision. TC held second hearing, and again re-issued DVO. Ex-Husband appealed again.
CA held that TCs have authority to reissue DVOs even in the absence of additional acts of domestic violence and abuse during the prior period. However, there must be some showing of a continuing need for the DVO. CA recognized that TC considered history of domestic violence in the parties’ marriage; that Ex-Husband’s conduct after the marriage left in Ex-Wife in fear; that during the time post-marriage when no DVO was in place, Ex-Husband again began to harass Ex-Wife; and that when CA’s last opinion on this matter was rendered, Ex-Husband attempted to retrieve his guns from the Sheriff’s office even before TC received notice that DVO had been vacated. Thus, CA found that there existed sufficient evidence to reissue the DVO.