Rupp v. Rupp, Ky COA, Reissuance of DVO

Rupp v. Rupp

2010-CA-000143-ME

Published:  Affirming

County: Jefferson

Ex-Husband appealed FC’s reissuance of DVO, arguing evidence was insufficient to support its continuation.

KRS 403.750(2) authorizes the reissuance of a DVO and grants courts the authority to reissue DVOs even in the absence of additional acts of domestic violence and abuse during the prior period.  While some showing of a continued need for the DVO must be presented to the court, additional acts of domestic violence need not be proven.

In FC’s re-issuance of the DVO, FC noted that it had had numerous opportunities since initial issuance of DVO, 8 years prior, to hear the parties testify, to observe them, and to assess their credibility; that the parties had a long history of domestic conflict including domestic violence and that emotions had run high during their numerous court appearances; that two DVOs had been issued against Ex-Husband and he had previously been held in contempt of court for violating a DVO, which he had violated as recently as April 2010 by sending Ex-Wife an angry email; and that Ex-Husband was upset over CPS investigations and may have felt additional stress as a result of a pending custody proceeding.  Additionally, FC observed that the fact that the parties have a minor child creates situations in which the parties will inevitably cross paths before the child turns 18.  On this basis, FC found that domestic violence had occurred and may occur in the future; that Ex-Wife had a reasonable fear of imminent physical harm from Ex-Husband; that the DVO had been effective in preventing domestic violence in the past; and that a continued need for the DVO existed. Accordingly, FC reissued the DVO for three more years.

CA found that sufficient evidence warranted a finding that the circumstances called for the continuance of the DVO because acts of domestic violence and abuse had occurred and may again occur.  CA noted  that while due consideration was given to the potential consequences resulting from the issuance of a DVO, FC did not err by reissuing the DVO against Ex-Husband.

FC affirmed.

Digested by Michelle Eisenmenger Mapes, Diana L. Skaggs + Associates